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​Council provides stormwater services in the Ashburton District to the urban areas of:


Our stormwater system is made up of a network of pipelines (and open drains) that collect, carry and then dispose of stormwater into local rivers and creeks.  Ashburton has the most comprehensive piped stormwater network while Methven and Rakaia have more limited networks that largely provide drainage for roadways.  There are also some open drains in Hinds that Council maintains.

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is rainwater that falls onto land and buildings, runs into gutters and downpipes, soaks into the ground or runs off hard surfaces and into waterways or to land.

It is very important that stormwater is not directed into the wastewater system, and that wastewater is not directed into the stormwater system.  If this happens it can result in overloading of the wastewater system or untreated wastewater entering the environment. This can significantly affect public health and the environment.

Help with stormwater issues

For problems with your personal property – for example the gutters, drains or soak holes – please contact your drainlayer or plumber. For other stormwater issues, please contact Council on (03) 307 7700.

Caring for our waterways

Unlike wastewater, stormwater doesn't get treated at a treatment plant, so whatever goes into the drain will end up in the nearest stream or river. Stormwater pollution reduces water quality, destroys habitats and kills plants and animals. There are some simple things you can do to help.

Washing your car

We all like to have our cars looking clean but do we look where the detergent and water goes to?  If you have access to some lawn, why not wash your car on this?  The lawn and the soil beneath filter the dirt and wash liquid and this reduces the problem of stream pollution.

Wind-blown paper and rubbish

Litter left on the roadway will eventually find its way into streams or waterways.  This applies also to loose paper in its many forms, from mailbox drops to tossing of cigarette butts and food wraps from cars. Plastic waste can also be a hazard. Sometimes litter comes from insecure loads on the way to the resource recovery park. Make sure that loads are properly tied down so the rubbish does not come adrift.


When you have finished a paint job, washing brushes in the side channel on the road leads to waterway pollution. Seek advice from your paint shop about how to wash brushes without polluting the environment. Leftover paint can be taken to resource recovery parks, rather than emptied into drains or sewers.

For more ideas on keeping our waterways clean visit the Clean waterways website

​​Canterbury Regional Stormwater Forum

The Canterbury Regional Stormwater Forum is a collaborative project between Canterbury District Councils, Environment Canterbury, Te Rūnanga O Ngāi Tahu, the University of Canterbury and local stormwater industry representatives.

It seeks to improve stormwater management planning, best practice design, consenting and associated environmental outcomes in Canterbury.

For more information, see


Most years Council undertakes projects that upgrades or replaces parts of the stormwater system.

Learn more about stormwater projects undertaken this year

Activity Management Plans

Activity Management Plans (AMPs) outline how Council manages our Stormwater systems.

Read the Stormwater Activity Management Plan