The latest Catchment Health Indicator Program (CHIP) report shows that water quality across the ACT region has improved, making 2022 the best year in the report’s nine-year history.
Minister for Water, Shane Rattenbury said the 2022 CHIP report, released today by Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch, covers one of the wettest years in recent memory.
“Thanks to La Niña conditions for a third consecutive year, heavy rainfall on the already saturated landscape produced constant runoff and high water flows throughout 2022,” Minister Rattenbury said.
“Although the heavy rain and continuous, high flowing water has resulted in our highest water quality scores in recent memory, this has contributed to an increase in streambank erosion across the ACT region, with soil and other materials washed off the bank and swept away downstream.
“This was especially the case in urban and rural areas with low numbers or diversity of native vegetation, both in-stream and along the riverbanks. This highlights the importance of restoring our urban and rural waterways to protect waterway healthy, restore biodiversity and make waterways more resilient to extreme weather conditions.
“Results from the annual Platypus Month surveys were also highlighted in the report, with 21 individual platypus sighted over August 2022. This is 10 less than were recorded during the same period in 2020 and is likely a consequence of high flows disrupting platypus feeding behaviour.
“The CHIP report would not be possible without our volunteers and their continued dedication to collecting crucial data on the health of our waterways.”
The 2022 CHIP report is based on the results of 2,000 surveys conducted by over 200 volunteers at 237 sites across the ACT region. Over 30,000 surveys have been conducted since the program began in 1995.