Tweed River
Community comment on the objectives

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For the Tweed River catchment a community discussion meeting attended by more than 90 people was held in Tweed Heads, a meeting for Aboriginal people (attended by representatives of many north coast Aboriginal communities) was held at Lismore, and a number of written submissions were received. In the course of the consultation period, some members of the community expressed the view that the small coastal creek catchments to the south of the Tweed should be included in the Tweed catchment guidelines rather than in the Brunswick guidelines, and this suggestion has been adopted.

Water quality and value of the resource

The catchment community supported a broad range of the proposed environmental values and related objectives. A healthy aquatic ecology (protection of aquatic ecosystems), safe swimming (primary contact recreation), water looking pleasant and clean (visual amenity), being able to drink the water after some treatment (drinking water supply), being able to irrigate (irrigation water supply), being able to use the water for household purposes (homestead water supply), and supply of water for livestock (livestock water supply) were particularly significant uses within the catchment. This pattern is broadly consistent with results of other analyses conducted recently in the Tweed, such as the Tweed River Water Quality Review produced for Tweed Shire Council.

Most submissions indicated a high level of community support for a healthy catchment, with good quality water and sufficient flows, both from a resource-use point of view, and because of feelings of attachment and well-being associated with knowing the catchment was healthy. Respondents wanted unpolluted water, rehabilitated riparian zones, and a diversity of native animals with their habitats protected. A broad range of environmental problems within the catchment was identified (see 'Major issues', below).

Many people supported an integrated catchment approach, increased efficiency of water use, and management of the entire water cycle (including reuse), particularly in dealing with urban areas. There was widespread recognition that achievement of the objectives would have some cost for the community, although many submissions indicated that having a healthy catchment was worthwhile. Most people strongly supported spreading the costs throughout the community rather than targeting a particular sector as they recognised that the community as a whole would benefit from achieving good water quality and a flow regime that protected both human and environmental health. It was also indicated that the local community needed to be involved in deciding how to work towards meeting the objectives, and in determining actual requirements.

River flows

Responses concerning river flow objectives indicated that the community regarded the most important flow issues as being related to:

There were several calls to use releases from Clarrie Hall Dam to help improve water quality in lower parts of the catchment.

The river flow objectives that caused the most concern to people (particularly irrigators) were those involving potential control of access to water at times when the river was flowing little or not at all.

Major issues

The process of developing the objectives has identified the following major issues that people felt needed progressive action to achieve a healthy and viable Tweed River and coastal lagoons system (comment on some of these is in Section 3, in the supporting information for the recommended objectives):

Existing programs

Some of the above issues already receive considerable attention and resources. Communities, through Landcare and other programs, are undertaking important on-the-ground projects. The NSW Government has established and funded programs such as Blue-Green Algae Management, Estuary Management Program, Floodplain Management Program, Wetlands Action, the Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program, Salt Action, and the NSW Shellfish Quality Assurance Program. At the Commonwealth level, programs are being funded through Landcare and the Natural Heritage Trust.

Where management plans or programs such as these are already underway in the catchment, they should be acknowledged and, where possible, incorporated in the water and estuary management plans.

This page was published 1 May 2006