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Ka ora te wai, Ka ora te whenua. Ka ora te whenua, Ka ora te tangata. If the water is healthy, the land will be nourished. If the land is nourished, the people will be provided for.
We all play a part in keeping waterways clean and healthy. Together, we can improve the state of the environment for our whānau and future generations to come.

What is stormwater and how do we deal with it?

Stormwater is essentially in the name: rain; particularly heavy storm-related rain.

Stormwater systems are used in built-up areas to remove rain water from streets to reduce flooding. It is necessary because urban areas have limited green areas that would normally soak up rain water.

The more hard surfaces we have – things like roofs, driveways and forecourts – the more rain runs into the stormwater system rather than seeping into soft areas like gardens and lawns.

In areas with a very high ratio of hard to soft surfaces, typically commercial/industrial areas and high-density housing subdivisions, on-site stormwater detention systems are required to help stop the system being overwhelmed during large rain events.

While it is principally about rain, in both commercial and home settings it also copes with water from other sources, such as from hoses used for outdoor cleaning.

In both instances, the water carries whatever is on the ground into the stormwater system. All water in the stormwater system ends up, untreated, in the Karamū Stream.

Reporting stormwater pollution

Stormwater pollution can cause serious harm to the health of our water, our people, and the ecosystems in that environment.

It’s important to report stormwater pollution to ensure the quality of our local water resources are looked after for future generations.

Just one litre of oil can cover 100 square metres of surface water - preventing oxygen from entering the water and doing some serious damage. That one litre oil can spill has the potential to contaminate the equivalent of two Olympic-sized swimming pools of water and take the life of any birds or animals that encounter it.

Help us look after our water by reporting any stormwater pollution you see. Click on the buttons below to find out how.


StormwaterMost of our district’s stormwater goes into the Karamū Stream and then out to sea. That means the things we do above ground at home, at work and when we are out and about, can directly affect the stream.

Stormwater is not treated. What you put onto your driveway or throw onto the street gets washed into the stream and then out into Hawke Bay: Paint, grass clippings, car wash soap, engine oil and grease, construction debris, pesticides, cigarette butts, dog poo . . .

Those pollutants affect the health of the stream and sea water and that of the animals living in them, whether by increasing levels of nitrogen that encourages unnaturally high algae and plant growth, or by choking animals trying to eat bottle tops or cigarette butts.

We all want cleaner waterways, so we all need to care.

Stormwater drains are for rain - and nothing else!

Application for approval to discharge controlled stormwater

View the following documents from the related documents at the top of this page:

  • Application for approval to discharge controlled stormwater.
  • Omāhu Road North Industrial Zone Stormwater - Information sheet for developers.
  • Site Specific Stormwater Management Plan format template - Omāhu North Industrial Area.
  • Site Specific Stormwater Management Plan format template - HDC network.

With 331 kilometres of pipe coping with an average 8.6 cubic metres of water a second, our stormwater system certainly has a lot of work to do.

Much of the core pipe infrastructure dates back to 1950, when the district’s then councils decided that a system should be installed to direct stormwater away from built up areas to reduce the risks of flooding. Those same risks exist today; in fact, with increasing housing and business density, leaving less and less soft ground to soak up rain water, the risk has grown.

The sizes of the pipes vary considerably, with the largest of the modern pipes having a diameter of 2.3m – roomy enough for the world’s tallest NBA basketballer (2018) to stand up in with a couple of inches to spare.

There is about one kilometre of pipe for every 213 people living in the urban areas serviced by the stormwater system: Hastings, Flaxmere and Havelock North.

It is not just about pipes however; there are more than 5000 roadside stormwater drains, 6000 sumps, 21,000 connections and 12 pumping stations across the network.

In today’s money, the infrastructure has a replacement value of $250 million and costs in the vicinity of $700,000 a year to maintain.

In rural areas, stormwater is generally managed using open roadside drains which are maintained by the owner of the road. In the case of highways that is NZTA, while local rural roads and drains are maintained by Hastings District Council’s roading team.


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