Why is water quality important?

Water is precious, especially here in Australia, the driest inhabited continent on Earth. Clean water is essential for life.  

Water is all around us here in Canberra – our beautiful lakes, the ancient Cotter, Molonglo and Murrumbidgee Rivers, tributary creeks, suburban wetlands and ponds. We live beside the water, celebrate alongside it, swim in it, play on it, run, walk and ride bikes around it.

Our waterways also support a diverse range of plants and animals – many of them found only in Australia – and offer refuge for some threatened species.

The water in suburban creeks, wetlands and ponds is mostly stormwater and run-off from residential blocks, streets, retail and industrial areas. That water eventually makes its way into our lakes and rivers, largely untreated.  

From there, it flows downstream into the Murrumbidgee River system, part of the iconic Murray-Darling Basin, one of Australia’s most productive agricultural regions.

It’s important to do what we can to improve the quality of water before it enters our waterways. It’s good for us, for the plants and animals that need clean water to survive, for the thousands of people who use and re-use that same water downstream and for the Southern Ocean where our water eventually ends up.

Canberra is the largest urban centre in the Murray-Darling Basin and the only capital city where water travels beyond its borders for others to use, before flowing into the Southern Ocean in South Australia.