Salinity targets reporting

NSW Salinity Targets define the desirable salinity conditions for the major inland rivers and catchments and the Hunter River and its catchment at a future date. They express the level of salinity in the river that the community is prepared to live with. To set targets communities have to weigh up competing demands for social, environment and economic outcomes. Salinity targets help guide salinity management planning, select the type and location of salinity management actions and measure success in managing salinity.

The end-of-valley salinity targets for NSW are summarised in the NSW Salinity Strategy. They are part of the catchment blueprints and endorsed by the NSW and Australian Governments and the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. The actions required to manage salinity and meet the targets by 2010 are described in the catchment blueprints, which will be implemented by Catchment Management Authorities.

There are two types of salinity targets:

  • end-of-valley targets: a water quality target at the end reach of a major river that expresses the overall salinity condition to aim for, and;
  • within-valley targets: a water or land-based target within a catchment that expresses the salinity level to aim for at that location. Within-valley targets can also be used to describe actions required to meet these targets, such as tree planting, improved farming systems or engineering works.

In NSW, the salinity targets are expressed as either salt load (tonnes) or concentration (Electrical Conductivity - EC). The map below shows the end-of valley salinity targets for inland NSW. 

Gauging stations have been established at end-of-valley and within-valley sites where salinity monitoring is undertaken. Data from gauging stations is collected on a daily basis. The types of data collected at these stations include salt loads, EC levels, river flows, salinity in groundwater, area of salt affected land and changes to vegetation cover and biodiversity. This data helps monitor progress in meeting salinity targets.

A list of the monitoring sites and a map showing the location of these sites can be found at http://waterinfo.nsw.gov.au.  

References and resources

The Salinity Targets Supplementary Paper (PDF 1042KB) describes the history of the use of salinity targets in NSW, the role targets play in salinity management, the links between the Murray-Darling Basin and national salinity strategies, and a summary of technical terms and concepts.

Page last updated: 26 February 2011