Lake Burley Griffin Catchment

Many people living in the Canberra region do not know where their stormwater goes.

Lake Burley Griffin is located on the Molonglo River and has a catchment of 1,866 km2 in area. The catchment spans from The Great Dividing Range in the east, Ginns Gap, Greenwood, Womboin, Poppet, Amongula, Cohen, and Bald Hill Range (ACT Border) in the north and the Michelago and Tinderry Mountains in the south. See the Lake Burley Griffin Catchment Inflows map here.

The catchment landscape is predominantly rural (approx. 63.5%), with forestry and conservation areas (approx. 30.4%) as the second largest land use. About 5.7% of the catchment landscape is for area urban land use, and this is growing. As much of the nutrient entering the Lake comes from urban stormwater, this adds more stress on the waterways and adds to poorer water quality.

Are you in or out?

Do you know if your suburb or street is part of the catchment for Lake Burley Griffin?

Look at our LBG Catchment map to find out if you are in or out.

If you are in

If your area is part of the Lake Burley Griffin catchment, your gutters and drains capture water which will flow into the Lake helping to add to the wonderful waterway we all enjoy. But at the same time, if there is rubbish or pollutants going into your stormwater drain, these will also flow to Lake Burley Griffin, affecting it's water quality.

When nutrient-rich water flows into Lake Burley Griffin it provides food on which blue-green algae thrive. These nutrients can build up as a result of:

  • Sediments and soil flowing into the stormwater drains;
  • Fertilizers and organic matter (grass clippings and leaf litter) from gardens flowing in to drains;
  • The dumping of food scraps into waterways; and
  • Leakages from blocked or damaged sewers and drains.

Small but effective measures taken by the community will help combat the contributing factors which promote blue-green algae in Lake Burley Griffin. These include:

  • Clean gutters and make sure that garden waste and lawn clippings are raked up and won’t be washed into stormwater drains after rain;
  • Check that soil does not run into stormwater drains when it rains;
  • Check that sewers and drains are in good repair and not blocked. Report any suspected sewer leaks to ICON Water;
  • When washing cars, do not allow soapy water to flow into the stormwater drain. Wash the car on the grass and reduce the amount of water used or use a commercial car-wash that recycles water;
  • During landscaping, direct any  run-off into the garden and lawn area;
  • If the swimming pool needs to be emptied, the water should not be directed to stormwater. Empty the pool gradually to allow the water to soak into grass or garden beds (ensuring water does not go onto neighboring properties);
  • Dog faeces washed from footpaths and driveways to the stormwater system pose a health threat to swimmers and contributes to the nutrient loadings. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets, especially while out walking their dogs. Collect all faeces and then bury them in the garden or dispose of them in a sealed bag in the general waste; and
  • Rainwater tanks contribute to the protection of the environment. By reducing water run-off and by slowing the flow of stormwater from the urban environment, fewer pollutants are transported into creeks, lakes and rivers. Consider installing a rainwater tank to provide water for the garden, washing cars, topping up swimming pools, or with additional plumbing, to connect to the toilet or washing machine.

These small measures will help reduce the level of nutrients in catchment areas and assist to improve the water quality of the Lake Burley Griffin.

What if you are out?

If you are not in the Lake Burley Griffin catchment, your stormwater drains also flows to a creek, pond, stream or Lake near you.

The same tips apply to help the water quality in these waterways.

See the exciting things the ACT Government is doing to improve water quality across Canberra at 

Cleaner catchments help create cleaner waterways.