Environmental issues

Water quality

Table 2: Objectives

Indicative objectives for monitoring and research in NSW

(1) Assessments of water quality, quantity and ecosystem health

  • measured baseline conditions for trend analysis
  • classification systems to rank and group aquatic systems based on stress, conservation value etc
  • other specific questions about the environmental resource generated by the community and end users of the data
  • indices to interpret collected data to judge the spectrum of condition measured and compare the ecosystem health of systems

(2) Assess management protection of conservation value of aquatic ecosystems

  • specify the biodiversity resource of aquatic environments of NSW
  • classification system and registers/databases of high conservation value areas
  • identify areas/communities/species of greatest threat and need for protection

(3) Specification of appropriate environmental targets.

  • identify relationships between indicators and environmental values
  • identify the most appropriate indicators for the various environmental values
  • identify the most appropriate environmental targets for the selected indicators

(4) Design and analysis of appropriate options for actions to address environmental targets

  • predict the amount of change in indicators that can be expected over time and test models to inform that prediction
  • input into socio-economic review of options

(5) Performance monitoring against environmental targets

  • data to measure achievement of targets
  • identify effectiveness of management actions such as environmental flow rules
  • testing of assumed responses of ecosystem to actions e.g. environmental flow rules
  • trend information to assess whether we are moving towards environmental targets
  • information on impact of management actions in meeting with environmental targets (cause/effect relationships)
  • effluent and ambient information on which to base environment protection licence limits and operating conditions
  • discharge (compliance) monitoring
  • ambient outcome monitoring
  • contaminated site runoff and groundwater monitoring

(6) Refinement of environmental targets

  • data on relationships between indicators and environmental values
  • improved definition of most appropriate indicators for a range of environmental values
  • data to measure compliance with targets
  • information on achievability of targets

(7) Preparation, review and auditing for environmental management plans

  • flow, water quality, wetland, riparian, floodplain, groundwater, estuary and coastal management plans

(8) Preparation, review and auditing of Catchment Blueprints by Catchment Management Boards and other natural resource bodies

  • comparable information at catchment and regional scale on status and trend in major aquatic resources and the pressures on them
  • information on geographic priority areas for actions

(9) Establishment and compliance monitoring of access/use conditions for rivers and groundwater, including property planning

  • quantitative information on factors that influence the degrees and timing of stress for specific ecosystem types, and ecological components
  • information on cause/effect relation of pressures and ecosystem condition
  • data to inform models to predict likely responses to actions
  • cumulative impact information
  • appropriate information management tools

(10) Environmental flow requirements for dam operations

  • quantitative information on factors that indicate degrees of ecosystem stress for specific ecosystem types, pressures and ecological components
  • information on cause/effect relation of pressures and ecosystem condition particular water temperature, storage flow changes and ecological responses
  • status and trend in pollutants in dam and dam releases

(11) State of the Environment Reporting

  • status of main environmental resources associated with water and pressures on those resources
  • spatial and temporal trends in environmental status
  • management responses to address status, trend and pressures

(12) Provision of information for immediate contingency management actions e.g. flood management, algae response etc

  • easy measures of indicators of threats for alerts
  • rapid data provision to notice/support/direct management action – flow, river height, algae, possibly other indicators


Page last updated: 26 February 2011