As the driest inhabited continent, Australia faces pressing issues of water quality and quantity. A recent decade of drought has heightened interest. We surveyed a community on the Hawkesbury- Nepean floodplain, the river that provides most of Sydney's potable water. The survey targeted respondents' perceptions of the source of water in local wetlands, causes of water pollution, their willingness to undertake environmental action to improve water quality, and their preferred source of information to inform remedial action. Residents considered that the environmental health of the local waterways was important, and they stated that they were willing to change their habits for environmental improvement. We observed that the first step to environmental stewardship was widespread (although strongest in women) but understanding of issues and the reality of moving from rhetoric to action was less well developed.