Increasing salinity is one of the most significant environmental problems facing NSW. Rising groundwater levels bring with them dissolved salts which are stored in the ground and this has an impact on many environments.

  • Agricultural production - salinity can affect plant growth and water quality resulting in lower crop yields
  • Built environment - salinity and associate waterlogging can have a serious impact on infrastructure, buildings and houses. Many towns and cities, including the Sydney metropolitan area, are currently experiencing problems associated with urban salinity
  • Natural environment - salinity has an adverse impact on the natural environment and is likely to occur in rivers and associated ecosystems when salt concentrations increase over a period of time. The ecosystmes most likely to be affected by salinity are rivers and riverbanks, wetlands, and vegetation in lower parts of the landscape
  • Water quality - studies show that water quality in many inland rivers is likely to decline over time, if no remediating actions are taken
  • Cultural significance - salinity can affect areas of cultural significance for Aboriginal people and impact on the contemporary expression of Aboriginal culture. Many heritage buildings, monuments and gardens are also at risk from salinity
  • Costs - the costs of salinity can vary because the methods used to estimate the costs are different, or they cover different geographical boundaries or time frames

Page last updated: 11 October 2013