Environmental issues

Water quality

9. Consistency with interjurisdictional processes

Current programs should be consistent with the Australian Guidelines for Water Quality Monitoring and Reporting (ANZECC & ARMCANZ, 2000b), which form part of the National Water Quality Management Strategy.

10. Gaps

In order to provide input to the future priorities for the State Water Monitoring Strategy, gaps in long-term programs have been investigated. These gaps will be further considered in development of the Strategy. The spatial coverage across the State of the long-term monitoring data sets identified in this Interim Approach was relatively sparse. That is, a relatively small selection of sites is currently used for fixed site monitoring.

In addition to sites, gaps were found in the subject or focus of monitoring activities. As this exercise did not identify spatial and temporal gaps, the following list is not exhaustive.

  1. Limited monitoring is currently being conducted to assess the ecological condition of waterways. The comprehensive federally funded macroinvertebrate AUSRIVAS/FNARH program has ended and the NSW River Survey conducted by NSW Fisheries has ceased monitoring fish across the State. It is anticipated that the MDBC Sustainable Rivers Audit will pick up fish monitoring and macroinvertebrate monitoring in the Murray-Darling Basin in the near future. Once the Sustainable Rivers Audit protocols have been tested and verified, they will be considered for incorporation into use in NSW monitoring. This will to some extent compensate for the gaps created when the AUSRIVAS/FNARH program and the NSW River Survey ceased monitoring.
  2. There is currently limited ongoing biological and microbiological monitoring in estuarine and coastal systems, although shorter-term investigations/monitoring in specific areas has been done in many coastal regions, and a long-term microbiological monitoring program is run by Beachwatch in the Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra regions.
  3. There is no ongoing long-term monitoring of riparian vegetation across the State. The MDBC Sustainable Rivers Audit might address this gap for the Murray-Darling Basin.
  4. Regular monitoring of contaminants in water, sediments and flora/fauna in terms of ecological condition does not occur as part of any ongoing program. 

The above gaps are those derived from the process of compiling a list of agency monitoring programs. The Interim Approach was designed to identify current monitoring programs as a basis for considering future programs.

Page last updated: 26 February 2011