Monitoring surface water quality is undertaken to enable us to better understand and protect the aquatic ecosystem. This can be done through measuring both the physicochemical and biological characteristics of our waterways. Monitoring water quality helps us to:
- assess waterway condition (physico-chemical)
- assess the health of instream aquatic biota (biologicals)
- identify potential sources of pollution
- protect public health
- understand the relationship between water quality and land management practices
- provide information for the development of Catchment Management Plans
- provide information to assist NRM regional strategies
- provide information for the development of policies.
Water Quality Monitoring in Tasmania
Water quality monitoring in Tasmania is supported by a variety of government (DPIPWE, Local Councils), community (Natural Resource Management Groups, Waterwatch) and private (eg Hydro Tasmania) organisations. The central agency for water quality monitoring is the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), which manages the State Water Quality Data Base.
Water quality monitoring programs are implemented throughout the State by DPIPWE. Their findings are important for providing recommendations for policy, planning and management. They include:
Baseline Water Quality Monitoring Program
Tasmania's Baseline Water Quality Monitoring Program (BWQMP) provides baseline information for a number of catchments across Tasmania as part of DPIPWE's Baseline Monitoring Network.
The program aims to provide current and long term data which will assist in the development of catchment and site specific water quality trigger values and targets. These will enhance the capacity of the State and Natural Resources Management Regions to manage Tasmania's water resources.
The Baseline Water Quality Monitoring Program also provides critical information and input into the following:
- Water Management Plans
- Natural Resource Management Monitoring and Evaluation
- Natural Resource Management Strategies
- State of Environment Reporting
Information from the BWQMP is reported on an annual basis in DPIPWE's
Annual Waterways Report
Data from the BWQMP is available through the Water Information System of Tasmania
State of River Reporting Program
Tasmania's State of River Reporting program provides reports for critical catchments across Tasmania. These reports aim to provide information on the quality, quantity and ecosystem health of Tasmanian waterways.
State of Rivers Projects also provide critical information for the development of water management and catchment plans. In particular these reports identify areas and actions which can be used to prioritise the on ground work of catchment management groups and aid in planning scheme developments. These reports also aim to provide basic water quality information against which the establishment of Water Quality Objectives in accordance with the State Water Quality Policy can be determined.
Electronic copies of
State of Rivers Reports
are available for the Ringarooma, Great Forester, Brid, Pipers, Mersey, South Esk, North Esk, Duck, Montagu, Inglis, Flowerdale, Jordan, Coal, Huon and Little Swanport River Catchments. A CD containing some of these State of Rivers reports is available from the Water Assessment Branch (see contact below).
Hard copies of the South Esk Basin (Mersey, Meander and South Esk rivers) report are also available to purchase from Water Assessment Branch ($20.00 a copy).
Water Management Plans
State of the Environment Report 2009