Moruya River

Our water quality monitoring program has shown the Moruya River estuary to have good water quality. Find out more about the estuary and its unique features.

Moruya River is a located in a large catchment area on the south coast of New South Wales. The estuary has 2 training walls that keep it permanently open to the sea.  It is classed as a barrier river estuary.

Malabar Lagoon – also known as Malabar Creek – supports saltmarsh, seagrass meadows and mangroves, and is an important arm of the Moruya River estuary.

Quondolo Island, another feature of the Moruya River estuary, is protected as part of Eurobodalla National Park. The island supports a range of coastal vegetation including swamp oak and coastal banksia, which provide important shelter for shorebirds, and mudflats surrounding the island provide a food source for the birds and crustaceans.

Historically, Moruya River is known as the site which provided granite for piers and pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Estuary health and features

Water quality

As part of our water quality monitoring program we assess the water quality and ecosystem health of an estuary using a range of relevant indicators. We sample a subset of the estuaries between Wollongong and the Victorian border every 3 years. The most recent sampling in Moruya River was completed over the 2020–21 summer when 2 sites were sampled on a monthly basis.

Moruya River water quality report card for algae and water clarity showing colour-coded ratings (red, orange, yellow, light green and dark green, which represent very poor, poor, fair, good and excellent, respectively). Algae is rated 'good' and water clarity is rated 'excellent' giving an overall rating of 'good' or 'B'.

This report card represents 2 water quality indicators that we routinely measure: the amount of algae present and water clarity. Low levels of these 2 indicators equate with good water quality.

The report card shows the condition of the estuary was excellent with:

  • algae abundance graded excellent (A)
  • water clarity graded excellent (A)
  • overall estuary health graded excellent (A).

Eurobodalla Shire Council have a long-term water quality monitoring program in the Moruya River, based on the same sampling and reporting methods as our state-wide program. The results of the monitoring program, including a detailed water quality report card, are available on the Eurobodalla Shire Council website.

Find out more about our estuary report cards and what each grade means. Read our sampling, data analysis and reporting protocols and find out how we calculate these grades.

We have monitored water quality in Moruya River since 2008. This table shows the water quality grades for this estuary over that time.

Moruya River historic water quality grades from 2008-09 for algae and water clarity. Colour-coded ratings (red, orange, yellow, light green and dark green represent very poor (E), poor (D), fair (C), good (B) and excellent (A), respectively).

Grades for algae, water clarity and overall are represented as:

  • A – excellent
  • B – good
  • C – fair
  • D – poor
  • E – very poor.

Physical characteristics

Estuary type: Barrier river

Latitude (ºS) –35.91
Longitude (ºE) 150.51
Catchment area (km2) 1423.7
Estuary area (km2) 6.1
Estuary volume (ML) 10,168
Average depth (m) 1.9

Tidal exchange volume

Tidal exchange volume or tidal prism data is available for this estuary. This tidal prism was measured in 2000.

Tide state Flow
(106 m3)
Local tidal
range (m)
Sydney Harbour
tidal range (m)
Ebb flow 4.88 1.21 1.47
Flood flow 4.8 1.22 1.41
Notes: km2 = square kilometres; m = metres; m3 = cubic metres; ML = megalitres.

Water depth and survey data

Bathymetric and coastal topography data for this estuary are available in our data portal.

Land use

The catchment of the Moruya River has relatively low disturbance with 85% remaining forested, including Deua National Park. Grazing areas on the floodplain and at Araluen and Neringla make up 10% of the catchment and urban areas form 2% including Moruya.

Water use

Find out about water use in the Moruya River, including information about major water users, real-time flow data, and environmental and water sharing plans.

Moruya bar crossing webcam

The Moruya bar crossing web camera provides real-time video of conditions of the river entrance channel immediately offshore to help with bar crossings and boat safety.

National and marine parks

Citizen science projects

  • iNaturalist’s Plants of Eurobodalla is a citizen science project that monitors plants found in the Eurobodalla region.

Community involvement

Moruya River