Stormwater is rain or snow runoff that does not soak into the soil. When an area is developed, stormwater generally increases due to runoff from impermeable surfaces (e.g. roofs, roads, carparks, or compacted soil).
It flows naturally from higher to lower ground, and ultimately discharges into natural watercourses such as wetlands, creeks, rivers or the sea. Land development results in the creation of both private and public stormwater systems, which collect and transfer stormwater to lower ground more efficiently.
Our public stormwater system is a network of drains, gutters, pipes, mud tanks, detention ponds, stormwater reserves and other associated infrastructure. You can view Dunedin’s stormwater infrastructure on the water services map in the related information section
Stormwater and wastewater use two separate systems. Wastewater from homes and businesses flows through the sewer system to treatment facilities where it is treated before it is discharged into the ocean, or to land-based disposal areas.
Stormwater is generally discharged untreated into the Harbour, the sea, or the nearest watercourse. It is important not to let pollutants like litter, animal excrement or contaminants left behind on roads enter roadside drains. Washing cars on the footpath or road or excessively watering lawns can also flush pollutants into the stormwater system. More information can be found on our Preventing stormwater pollution page
The stormwater system can flood when the volume of runoff is high. More information can be found on our Minimising stormwater runoff page
There are three key parties responsible for stormwater – the Otago Regional Council, private landowners, and the Dunedin City Council. More information can be found on our Stormwater responsibilities page.
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