Painting a picture to keep our waterways healthy

Expressions of interest are now open for local artists to participate in the innovative city DrainART project, Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja, and Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Mick Gentleman, announced today.

“We’re calling on local artists to apply for this exciting project and to help us promote messages of H2OK: Keeping our waterways healthy,” Senator Seselja said.

“Part of the H2OK program, the city DrainART project will see a total of 10 stormwater drains located in prominent areas along Lonsdale Street in Braddon and City Walk in Civic painted to show how pollutants from the street – like rubbish, cigarette butts, leaves and chemicals and oil – wash down the stormwater drain and impact the health of our local waterways.

“The DrainArt project aims to change the way we think about our stormwater and in turn change behaviours that lead to pollutants contaminating our waterways. Specifically, artwork will help people visiting the Civic area make a clear visual connection that what goes down those particular stormwater drains lead directly to Lake Burley Griffin, onto the Molonglo River and eventually downstream to the Murrumbidgee River.”

The H2OK: Keeping our waterways healthy stormwater education program, being rolled out across the ACT and region, is part of the $93.5 million ACT Healthy Waterways Project, a partnership between the Australian and ACT Governments. 

“The Australian Government is placing the emphasis firmly on building more modern and efficient water infrastructure to improve water quality in the ACT and wider Murray-Darling Basin. That is why we are contributing up to $76 million for the construction of priority water infrastructure like ponds, wetlands and rain gardens, and we’re asking everyone in the region to do their part by making sure only rain goes down stormwater drains,” said Senator Seselja.

Minister Gentleman said colourful and creative artwork near stormwater drains and infrastructure would be an interesting way to engage with the community about the importance of protecting our waterways.

“The city DrainART project will be the first of a number of DrainART initiatives rolled out across the region.  Projects are also planned for Cooma, Yass and Queanbeyan as well as through partnerships with local high schools,” Minister Gentleman said. 

“The DrainART projects will be an enduring legacy from the H2OK: Keeping our waterways healthy education program by enabling long term engagement with the local community.

“For artists interested in participating in the city DrainART project a drop-in information session will be held from 2 pm – 7 pm on Wednesday 19 April 2017 at Dame Pattie Menzies House in Dickson.

“To apply, interested artists must complete an application form and provide a copy of their proposed design(s) by 4 pm Friday 28 April 2017.  All proposed designs will be assessed by a panel and the successful artist or group of artists will be provided with a $300 service grant per site once artwork is complete.”

For more information on the city DrainART project, including details on how to apply, visit

ACT Healthy Waterways is delivering water infrastructure projects on up to 25 sites around the ACT. Work to prepare for the first of these projects, which will see twin wetlands constructed at Isabella Pond in Tuggeranong, has already begun.