| Contents | Background
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In the Georges River catchment, a community discussion meeting was held in Bankstown on
2 April 1998, and seven written submissions were received.
Most of the feedback from the Bankstown meeting and the written submissions showed community support for improving the health of the catchment. Good quality water and sufficient flows were identified as being essential to ensure a healthy catchment.
There was widespread recognition that achievement of the objectives would involve some cost for the community, although many submissions indicated that having a healthy catchment was worthwhile-and that it might increase tourism and improve the residents' quality of life. Most people strongly supported spreading the costs throughout the community, rather than targeting a particular sector. They recognised that the community as a whole would benefit from achieving good Water quality and a flow regime that protected both human and environmental health.
The local community expressed a wish to be involved in deciding how to work towards meeting the objectives, and in determining actual requirements.
The catchment community supported all the proposed environmental values, giving particular emphasis to a healthy aquatic ecology, safe swimming, and water looking pleasant and clean.
People indicated that they wanted unpolluted water to ensure the long-term viability of ecosystems and a diversity of habitats for native plants and animals. A broad range of environmental problems within the catchment was also highlighted (see 'Major issues' below).
Many people supported a whole-of-catchment approach to ensure that problems upstream were dealt with, to avoid an impact on other areas of the catchment. The community felt this approach would improve river ecosystems, and promote environmental responsibility among both residents and visitors. It was acknowledged that a healthier river would mean a healthier community, and a better quality of life for future generations.
The community's responses indicated that people considered that the most important river flow issues related to the effects of weirs and other obstructions. They thought that minimising the impact of obstructions would be the best way of improving flows and restoring some natural variability in the flow regime. The need to decrease the speed of runoff was also identified as a major issue; and residents in the catchment were particularly concerned about the need to ensure adequate flushing of estuarine areas.
The costs of improving flows were seen as being an impediment to achieving a healthier river.
Along with the Cooks River, the Georges River flows into Botany Bay. Any Water quality and river flow objectives developed for the Cooks and Georges River estuaries, therefore, will need to take into account their influence on Botany Bay and its management.
The estuarine areas of Botany Bay have distinct needs and problems that are influenced by the catchments of both the Cooks and Georges rivers. These include:
During the consultation period, various major issues were identified as needing action to achieve a healthy and viable Georges River system. Comments on some of these are included in Section 3, as part of setting objectives. The wide variety of issues identified within the catchment reflects the variety of land-uses in the area.
The upper catchment includes the upper reaches of the Woronora River and Dam and the Upper Georges River, O'Hares Creek and Prospect Reservoir. As the Woronora River catchment is the subject of a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry, it will not be discussed further here.
Issues of concern included:
The lower catchment includes the urban areas of Campbelltown, Liverpool, Bankstown, Sutherland, Kogarah, Kurnell, Botany and areas around Botany Bay. Issues of concern in these areas included:
Various problems in the catchment already receive considerable attention and resources. Existing Government programs include the $3 billion Waterways Program (May 1997), the $60 million Urban Stormwater Management Program (September 1997), the Estuary Management Program and assistance through schemes such as Natural Heritage Trust funding, Rivercare, Waterwatch, local government capital grants and ongoing work by Sydney Water. The Waterways Package is funding improvements to wastewater treatment and disposal, and to prevent 80-90% of sewer overflows in the Sydney region. Over $2 million has been allocated to local councils under the Urban Stormwater Management Program in the Georges River Catchment for specific works to stop stormwater pollution.
The Georges River Regional Environmental Plan was gazetted on 5 February 1999 and aims to protect the Water quality of the Georges River and its tributaries, and the environmental quality of the whole catchment. The objectives of the plan are to be achieved through coordinated land-use planning and development control. Water quality and river flow objectives agreed by the Minister for Land and Water Conservation and the Minister for the Environment are to be considered when assessing development applications within the catchment.
Existing programs such as these need to be acknowledged and, where possible, incorporated in the water and estuary management plans.
This page was published 1 May 2006