Why do we need water for the environment?

Water for the environment underpins a range of activities and outcomes throughout the state.

Word cloud - future, recreation, tourism, plant life, stock, people, food, agriculture, wildlife, economy, industry, wetlands, community, rivers

Food. Fibre.

People, plants.

Industry, agriculture, tourism and towns.

The rivers, wetlands and floodplains of NSW are an essential component in the health and prosperity of local communities.

But increasing demand for this valuable water resource, coupled with years of drought have led to the loss or near collapse of many wetland and riverine ecosystems.

Healthy rivers and wetlands provide social, economic and cultural benefits for regional communities including:

  • drought refuge for wildlife and stock
  • maintenance of water quality
  • flood mitigation
  • a sink for greenhouse gases
  • recharging of groundwater systems
  • water for pasture systems
  • timber and honey production
  • recreation and tourism.

Rivers and wetlands often have special social and spiritual significance to Aboriginal people. They provide links to the traditional stories, beliefs and practices that contribute to the cultural identity of Aboriginal people.  They are also a rich resource terms of food, fibre, medicine, navigation and shelter. Additionally, wetlands have considerable historical importance as the setting for many early interactions between Aboriginal people and settlers.

It is the role of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to improve the health of these vital natural assets and support the myriad uses of rivers, wetlands and floodplains in NSW and the people who call them ‘home’.


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Page last updated: 10 December 2015