Why is water quality important?

Have you had a glass of water today? A cup of tea? It contained molecules that were probably drunk by Cleopatra, even the dinosaurs. Think about that for a minute. There is about the same amount of water on Earth now as when our planet was formed – and it gets reused and recycled over and over.

And, for a watery planet, there’s not a lot of usable water. Nearly 97% of the world’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. Another 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves just 1% for all of humanity’s needs — agricultural, residential, manufacturing, community, recreational and personal.

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. Watch the video below (animation) to learn more about Water in the ACT.

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 Canberra’s 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.

How healthy is our water in Canberra?