Hunter River
Water quality and River Flow Objectives

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This section gives the Water Quality Objectives (WQOs) and the River Flow Objectives (RFOs) for the Hunter River catchment, (excluding the Williams River, which has already been the subject of a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry), which should be used in developing plans and actions affecting river health. Only the priority RFOs are listed in this section, but the remaining objectives still need to be considered when developing flow management plans or dealing with particular local river conditions.

Town water supply subcatchments

The streams in town water subcatchments or groundwater aquifers typically feed into a town's water supply storage. In many cases, the catchment may be declared as specially protected to minimise the land-use impacts on water quality.

Map: The objectives apply to streams and major aquifers in areas coloured light blue on the map.

Top of PageWater Quality Objectives

Protection of:

Aquatic ecosystems
Visual amenity
Drinking water-Groundwater

Top of PageRiver Flow Objectives

Manage groundwater for ecosystems

Supporting information

Mainly forested areas

Streams in mainly forested areas are often valued for their conservation or recreational values. They often have relatively natural flows and water quality. Many are in national parks or state forests. Others are generally in the upper parts of the catchment.

Map: The objectives apply to streams running through areas coloured green on the map (state forests, national parks and nature reserves); and through other forested areas, if any are defined locally (private land or Crown land).

Top of PageWater Quality Objectives

Protection of:

Aquatic ecosystems
Visual amenity
Secondary contact recreation
Primary contact recreation

Top of PageRiver Flow Objectives

Protect pools in dry times
Protect natural low flows
Maintain natural flow variability
Manage groundwater for ecosystems
Minimise effects of weirs and other structures

Supporting information

Waterways affected by urban development

Waterways within urban areas that are often substantially modified and generally carry poor quality stormwater. Many local communities are keen to see these waterways returned to more natural conditions.

Map: These areas are shown in orange or orange dots on the map.

Top of PageWater Quality Objectives

Protection of:

Aquatic ecosystems
Visual amenity
Secondary contact recreation, as a medium-term objective, 5-10 years
Primary contact recreation: assess opportunities to achieve as a longer term objective, 10 years or more

Top of PageRiver Flow Objectives

Maintain wetland and floodplain inundation
Mimic natural drying in temporary waterways (and wetlands)
Maintain natural flow variability
Maintain natural rates of change in water levels
Minimise effects of weirs and other structures

Supporting information

Uncontrolled streams

Uncontrolled streams and waterbodies are those that are not in estuaries or the other categories. Their flow patterns may have been altered in some way through land-use change and extraction. Many of these streams flow into the regulated river sections, and so changes to their flow regime will affect downstream flows.

Map: These streams are shown as blue lines on the map.

Top of PageWater Quality Objectives

Protection of:

Aquatic ecosystems
Visual amenity
Secondary contact recreation
Primary contact recreation
Livestock water supply
Irrigation water supply
Homestead water supply
Drinking water at point of supply-Disinfection only
Drinking water at point of supply-Clarification and disinfection
Drinking water at point of supply-Groundwater
Aquatic foods (cooked)

Top of PageRiver Flow Objectives

Protect pools in dry times
Protect natural low flows
Protect important rises in water levels
Maintain wetland and floodplain inundation
Maintain natural flow variability
Manage groundwater for ecosystems
Minimise effects of weirs and other structures

Supporting information

Major regulated rivers

These rivers have large dams supplying irrigation, town and industrial water for substantial distances downstream. Flows are typically supplemented from dams, resulting in fairly stable and persistent flows when water is released for extractive use. River flow, such as small natural rises, can be reduced at other times, particularly during periods of high demand for water by industrial users. Flows in these regulated sections can also be substantially affected by use of water in the unregulated river sections upstream.

Map: These rivers are shown as yellow lines on the map.

Top of PageWater Quality Objectives

Protection of:

Aquatic ecosystems
Visual amenity
Secondary contact recreation
Primary contact recreation: assess opportunities to achieve as a longer term objective, 10 years or more
Livestock water supply
Irrigation water supply
Homestead water supply
Drinking water at point of supply-Disinfection only
Drinking water at point of supply-Clarification and disinfection
Drinking water at point of supply-Groundwater
Aquatic foods (cooked)

Top of PageRiver Flow Objectives

No RFOs were recommended in 1999, because environmental flow rules had already been recommended by the former Hunter River Management Committee (RMC).

In 2004, a Water Sharing Plan (WSP) for the regulated river commenced. The WSP incorporated recommendations from the former RMC and includes environmental water provisions. Under the Water Management Act, the WSP will be reviewed before its 10 year term expires. The review will consider the River Flow Objectives framework, along with other requirements of the State Water Management Outcomes Plan and the Act. The Paterson River will be the subject of a separate WSP.

Supporting Information

Controlled streams with increased flows

In these rivers, the flow is supplemented for large portions of time by water diverted from an adjoining catchment for town water, hydro-electric power or
water supply augmentation purposes. These releases alter the river flow patterns and may affect water quality.

Map: These streams are shown as brown lines on the map.

Top of PageWater Quality Objectives for Black Creek

Protection of:

Aquatic ecosystems
Livestock water supply
Irrigation water supply
Homestead water supply (non-potable use only): assess opportunities to achieve as a longer term objective, 10 years or more

Top of PageRiver Flow Objectives for Black Creek

Protect natural low flows
Mimic natural drying in temporary waterways
Maintain natural flow variability
Manage groundwater for ecosystems
Minimise effects of weirs and other structures

Supporting information

Top of PageWater Quality Objectives for Oaky Creek and the Hunter above Glenbawn

Protection of:

Aquatic ecosystems
Visual amenity
Secondary contact recreation
Primary contact recreation
Livestock water supply
Irrigation water supply
Homestead water supply

Top of PageRiver Flow Objectives for Oaky Creek and the Hunter above Glenbawn

Protect natural low flows
Mimic natural drying in temporary waterways
Maintain natural flow variability
Manage groundwater for ecosystems
Minimise effects of weirs and other structures

Supporting Information

Estuary

Being dominated by saline conditions,estuaries have hydraulic and water quality characteristics, and potential problems, that are often very different from those of freshwater systems.

Map: The estuary is coloured purple on the map.

Top of PageWater Quality Objectives

Protection of:

Aquatic ecosystems
Visual amenity
Secondary contact recreation
Primary contact recreation
Aquatic foods (cooked) and commercial shellfish production

Top of PageRiver Flow Objectives

Maintain wetland and floodplain inundation
Maintain natural flow variability
Manage groundwater for ecosystems
Minimise effects of weirs and other structures
Maintain or rehabilitate estuarine processes and habitats

Supporting Information

This page was published 1 May 2006

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