Waterwatch has released its annual waterways health report for ACT and the surrounding region on World Water Day 2019.
The report has found that 5 were rated ‘excellent’, 37 waterways were ‘good’, 49 were ‘fair’, 3 were ‘poor’ and none were ‘degraded’.
While the results were reasonably positive, the 2018 scores declined around 10 per cent from 2017 due to the driest autumn since 2004 and the driest winter since 1994 for the ACT region.
This underscores the negative impacts of climate change and the importance of building resilience into waterways and their surrounding catchments.
The ACT Healthy Waterways joint ACT and Commonwealth initiative is improving water quality and increasing the amount of plants both in the water and along the edges of our rivers and wetlands.
Our ACT Environment Grants are also now open and available for community groups to help improve the condition of our waterways.
The 2018 Waterwatch Catchment Health Indicator Program (CHIP) report contains an impressive 2,493 water quality, water bug and riverbank vegetation assessments conducted at over 230 sites across the ACT region in the past year.
I thank the more than 200 Waterwatch volunteers that have undertaken this work. We’ve been hearing from volunteers who have been monitoring for more than ten years that they’ve never seen their sites so dry.
Now in its fourth year, the report analyses data along various stretches of waterway known as ‘reaches’ and produces individual report cards.
Waterwatch is supported by $2 million over five years from the ACT Healthy Waterways and also receives funding through Icon Water.