Water quality report card coverage

N.B. you are viewing the archived 2015 report.

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Key finding

Queensland is well covered by water quality monitoring at different timescales, from annual report cards in coastal areas to less frequent monitoring in more remote regions. Areas such as the Gulf of Carpentaria and parts of the Murray–Darling Basin have not yet been covered, but will be addressed in future programs.

Queensland

The water quality of most of Queensland's rivers, creeks and coastal areas are covered by water quality monitoring. Information is collected in different ways and over different time periods across Queensland's major drainage areas.

More intensive monitoring is conducted and reported through annual waterway health report cards in the more developed coastal regions and in Great Barrier Reef catchments and associated estuarine and marine areas. In these more developed areas, land use and activity in the catchment is more intense and has impacted water quality and waterway health.

In other areas of Queensland, water quality is surveyed less frequently, for example every five to ten years. This reflects the lower level of risk to ecosystems in these catchments due to lower populations and land use intensity.

Information is not currently available for the Gulf of Carpentaria catchments and parts of the Murray–Darling Basin: the QCatchments program plans to undertake assessments of these areas in future years.

Healthy Waterways South East Queensland report card

The South East Queensland region extends from the Noosa River in the north to the New South Wales border in the south and west to the Great Dividing Range.

The Healthy Waterways report card covers the 19 major river catchments as well as the marine areas of Pumicestone Passage, Moreton Bay and the Broadwater.

The report card is produced by Healthy Waterways Ltd, a not-for-profit company that hosts a partnership of state and local governments, water providers and utilities and industry organisations.

The Healthy Waterways Report Card commenced in 2000 with estuarine and marine monitoring, adding freshwater in 2002. The report card is released annually in October. It includes the results of waterway monitoring from around 400 sites across the region, collected in the previous financial year by Queensland Government scientists.

The 2015 report card uses a new methodology for calculating environmental grades and introduces new indicators including the impact from sediment entering waterways and the extent of habitats such as riparian vegetation. It also reports on waterways’ social and economic benefits ratings and explores management actions needed to improve waterways health.

In 2015, none of the waterways ‘failed’ the environmental condition grade.

More information:

Great Barrier Reef report card

The Great Barrier Reef extends 2,300km from the tip of Cape York to the Burnett–Mary regions. Its catchment area is more than 400,000km2—an area larger than Japan.

The Great Barrier Reef Report Card is released jointly by the Queensland and Australian governments. Monitoring information is collected across a financial year: the report card is released by September in the following year, giving time for complex water quality modelling tools to be applied to the data.

Targets for water quality and land management for the Great Barrier Reef catchment are set through the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan. The Reef Report Card uses a combination of monitoring and modelling approaches to assess progress toward targets such as the reduction in sediments and nutrients flowing to the Reef, and the area of farm lands managed using best practice systems.

The report card also reports on marine condition, including information on water quality, seagrass and coral health.

More information:

Fitzroy Basin report card

The Fitzroy River has the largest catchment of any river system on the east coast of Australia and feeds down to the significant estuarine environments in the Greater Fitzroy Delta.

There are large areas of mining and agriculture in the catchment.

The Fitzroy Basin Association, a regional natural resource management body, hosts the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health, which produces a report card annually.

The Fitzroy Basin Report Card reports on sub-catchment and estuarine condition for the Fitzroy River Basin, based on monitoring of biological and ecological indicators from more than 220 sites.

It also incorporates the marine information from the Reef Report Card.

The report card began in 2010–2011. Information on drinking water results has been included.

More information:

Gladstone Harbour report card

Gladstone Harbour includes one of Queensland's busiest ports, is a significant recreational asset for the local community and is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

The Gladstone Healthy Harbour Report Card is produced by the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership, a partnership of state, federal and local governments, industry and community hosted by the Fitzroy Basin Association, a regional natural resource management body.

The pilot report card was released in December 2014. The first full report card was released in February 2016.

The Gladstone Harbour Report card reports on estuarine and marine condition in the harbour based on monitoring of ecological and biological indicators and also reports on social, economic and cultural indicators.

More information:

Mackay-Whitsunday report card

The Mackay–Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership is a partnership of state, federal and local governments, industry and community hosted by Reef Catchments, a regional natural resource management body.

The report card region covers the Don basin from Home Hill and Reef Catchments’ natural resource management boundary to Flaggy Rock Creek.

The pilot report card was released in October 2015. The first full report card is expected in late 2016.

The Mackay–Whitsunday report card reports on waterway health including freshwater, estuarine, and marine condition (both inshore and offshore). Social satisfaction, community values and regional industry stewardship are also reported on.

More information:

Condamine Catchment report card

The Condamine catchment is located at the headwaters of the Murray–Darling Basin in southern Queensland. It covers 2.5 million hectares from Queen Mary Falls near Killarney in the Border Ranges through to Chinchilla on the north-western edge of the Darling Downs.

The Condamine Catchment Report Card 2013 was prepared by the Condamine Alliance, a regional natural resource management body, as a one-off report card to support the development of a water quality improvement plan for the catchment. Supported by technical reports, the report card aims to raise awareness in the region, engage current and potential stakeholders and improve knowledge by summarising robust and detailed scientific studies in an easy-to-understand format.

More information:

QCatchment Bulloo

The Bulloo catchment is located in arid inland south-west Queensland. It is terminal system (no outflow to other rivers or the sea), flowing into several lake systems near the border of New South Wales and Queensland.

QCatchments is a statewide rolling waterway condition assessment program producing ‘one-off’ condition reports with a return interval of about nine years.

The QCatchments report for the Bulloo catchment was prepared in 2012 by the Queensland Government’s Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation. The QCatchments program can be scaled up or down from province to catchment level, depending on information needs. The program:

  • Identifies priority threats to aquatic ecosystems
  • reports on the condition of the ecosystem
  • improves understanding of ecosystem processes and the influence of threats
  • guides natural resource decision-making processes.

More information:

QCatchment Paroo

The Paroo catchment is located in inland south-west Queensland. It is the last of the northern Murray–Darling Basin’s free-flowing, unregulated rivers, connecting to the Darling River only in unusually wet years. The Paroo is an ephemeral system (dry much of the year but flows for a short time after rainfall) that flows from Queensland into New South Wales.

QCatchments is a statewide rolling waterway condition assessment program producing ‘one-off’ condition reports with a return interval of about nine years.

The QCatchments report for the Paroo catchment was prepared in 2012 by the Queensland Government’s Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation. The QCatchments program can be scaled up or down from province to catchment level, depending on information needs. The program:

  • identifies priority threats to aquatic ecosystems
  • reports on the condition of the ecosystem
  • improves understanding of ecosystem processes and the influence of threats
  • guides natural resource decision-making processes.

More information:

QCatchment Warrego

The Warrego catchment is located in inland south-west Queensland and is part of the Murray–Darling Basin. Several upper tributaries separate into anabranches (multiple river channels) north of the New South Wales border before the main Warrego River channel flows into the Darling River. The anabranches can connect to neighbouring catchments (Paroo and Culgoa rivers) during times of high flow which occur only after unpredictable heavy rainfall events.

QCatchments is a statewide rolling waterway condition assessment program producing ‘one-off’ condition reports with a return interval of approximately nine years.

The QCatchments report for the Warrego catchment was prepared in 2012 by the Queensland Government’s Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation. The QCatchments program can be scaled up or down from province to catchment level, depending on information needs. The program:

  • identifies priority threats to aquatic ecosystems
  • reports on the condition of the ecosystem
  • improves understanding of ecosystem processes and the influence of threats
  • guides natural resource decision-making processes.

More information:

QCatchment Nebine

The Nebine catchment is located in semi-arid south-west Queensland. It is part of the Queensland Murray–Darling Basin and incorporates the catchments of Nebine, Mungallala and Wallam creeks.

QCatchments is a statewide rolling waterway condition assessment program producing ‘one-off’ condition reports with a return interval of about nine years.

The QCatchments report for the Nebine catchment was prepared in 2012 by the Queensland Government’s Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation. The QCatchments program can be scaled up or down from province to catchment level, depending on information needs. The program:

  • identifies priority threats to aquatic ecosystems
  • reports on the condition of the ecosystem
  • improves understanding of ecosystem processes and the influence of threats
  • guides natural resource decision-making processes.

More information:

QCatchment Wet Tropics

The Wet Tropics QCatchments report covers the Jeannie, Endeavour, Daintree, Mossman, Barron, Mulgrave-Russell, Johnstone, Tully, Murray, Hinchinbrook Island, Herbert, and Black drainage basins along the state’s far north coast. About 45% of the area is World Heritage listed or protected as National Park.

QCatchments is a statewide rolling waterway condition assessment program producing ‘one-off’ condition reports with a return interval of about nine years.

The QCatchments report for the Wet Tropics was prepared in 2009 by the Queensland Government’s Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation.

The QCatchments program can be scaled up or down from province to catchment level, depending on information needs. The QCatchments program can be scaled up or down from province to catchment level, depending on information needs. The program:

  • identifies priority threats to aquatic ecosystems
  • reports on the condition of the ecosystem
  • improves understanding of ecosystem processes and the influence of threats
  • guides natural resource decision-making processes.

More information:

QCatchment Lake Eyre

The Lake Eyre and Bulloo QCatchments report includes the Queensland section of the Lake Eyre Basin which is made up of the Georgina, Diamantina and Cooper Creek catchments, as well as the internally draining Bulloo catchment.

QCatchments is a statewide rolling waterway condition assessment program producing ‘one-off’ condition reports with a return interval of about nine years. The QCatchments report for the Lake Eyre and Bulloo catchments was prepared in 2013 by the Queensland Government’s Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation.

The QCatchments program can be scaled up or down from province to catchment level, depending on information needs. The program moves across the state depending on priorities, with assessments generally undertaken to support water planning assessments. The QCatchments program:

  • identifies priority threats to aquatic ecosystems
  • reports on the condition of the ecosystem
  • improves understanding of ecosystem processes and the influence of threats
  • guides natural resource decision-making processes.

More information:

Indicator: Extent of Queensland covered by water quality report cards

Extent of Queensland covered by various water quality report cards.