Executive Summary

The Department of TAMS undertakes a water monitoring program for the ACT which includes water quality and streamflow information. Such information is used to determine whether waters in the ACT are of adequate quality and if the management strategies used to achieve or maintain such water quality are adequate.

This report provides the ACT community with the results of the program and the level of compliance with the ACT Water Quality Guidelines.

Water quality is monitored in the major urban lakes (with the exception of Lake Burley Griffin, a Commonwealth responsibility) and Lake Burrinjuck which is immediately downstream of the ACT. The major rivers and some urban streams are also monitored. River flow is measured at a number of sites throughout the ACT. This information is necessary for interpreting water quality data.

Rainfall for the period was below the long term average, reflecting the extended dry period that was experienced through late summer. As a result, streamflow was also below the long term average in the major streams and rivers.

The report uses the median value for the year as the measure of the average condition. The condition of water quality at the monitoring sites is assessed by comparison of the median value with concentrations listed in the water quality guidelines.

Trend analysis of data available between 1992-1997 has been carried out for sites with sufficient data for trends to be detected.

Water quality in the ACT for lakes and streams is generally good. The main impacts on water quality in the urban area are a direct result of land development with urban run-off carrying suspended sediment and nutrients.

In the Lake Tuggeranong and Lake Ginninderra catchments where development is stabilising, trends in turbidity and suspended solids are improving. In the developing catchments of Point Hut Pond and Gungahlin Pond, the water quality is showing signs of the impact of urban development with median turbidity values exceeding the guidelines at both sites.

Water quality in the Murrumbidgee River is quite good showing that the ACT has a minimal impact on the water quality in the river and that management practices appear to be effective in controlling pollution from the ACT. Water quality in the Molonglo River was also quite good with median values complying with the water quality guidelines at all sites monitored.


For the full water quality report please download using one of the links below.