Environmental issues

Water quality

1. Background

A commitment to maintaining and improving the health of the State's waters and associated aquatic systems is a NSW Government priority. Fundamental to achieving this commitment is the need for reliable data that will provide information for assessing the health of NSW waters and developing strategies to manage them.

Significant benefits have been obtained from existing water monitoring in NSW. However, it is recognised that improvements in monitoring programs are needed to adequately address current natural resource management and reporting frameworks.  A continued focus on quality assurance issues (specifically, data quality and consistency in the protocols used) and data sharing will assist in meeting the broad range of data needs. The coordination of water monitoring programs at the State, regional and local government levels could provide some efficiencies in gaining access to and using information, as well as in monitoring and reporting.

To achieve these improvements, the Water Chief Executive Officers created the State Water Monitoring Coordination Committee (SWMCC) to address a coordinated whole-of-Government approach  to water monitoring in NSW. In March 2001 the Government approved the development of a State Water Monitoring Strategy. As a first step to developing this Strategy, An Interim Approach for Water Monitoring in NSW was set up to review, coordinate and streamline current water monitoring in NSW. A State Water Interim Monitoring Team (SWIM Team) (Appendix A) was formed to develop common protocols and to report to the SWMCC on current water monitoring procedures and programs. The terms of reference for the SWIM Team are set out at Appendix B.

Water monitoring for the purpose of this Interim Approach is defined as a scientific activity that:

  1. makes routine measurements of indicators on a regular basis
  2. adopts preferred protocols for data generation
  3. makes assessments against standards or benchmarks.

Page last updated: 26 February 2011