What is stormwater?

When it rains in a natural environment, much of the water is absorbed into the ground. However, in Willoughby Council’s highly urbanised areas, most of the water falls on hard surfaces such as roofs, roads and footpaths. This rain runoff then becomes stormwater.

Stormwater can easily become polluted as it washes away soil, litter, animal waste, oil or leaves. The stormwater eventually runs into drains which then flow into local creeks. Unlike sewerage, stormwater is not treated, which means that any pollution in the stormwater washes into our local waterways, Sydney Harbour, or Lane Cove River.

Polluted water makes it hard not only for people to enjoy activities like swimming or fishing, but also harms wildlife and plants.

Managing stormwater and pollution

Cleaning up backyards and streets prevents litter, dog droppings, leaves, cigarette butts and oil from ending up in our catchments.

Willoughby Council assesses the quality of catchment water bi-annually. For the results, please contact the Sustainability Branch through the Help & Service Centre or by emailing

In previous years, Council has been given grants in order to survey resident’s attitudes on stormwater and educate them about the issue. This grant has resulted in the Streets to Creeks program.

Willoughby City Council is working with other northern Sydney regional councils to provide information on their stormwater management programs. To find out more visit: