An assessment of current water quality against the draft water quality objectives indicates areas where water quality meets and fails the draft objectives. Causal pressures can now be more quantitatively defined.
Alternative management strategies and actions to protect waterways and address specific causes need to be developed and assessed for social, economic and environmental impacts, leading to decisions on the priority management actions to be implemented. Although the strategies will be specific to the particular values and causes for each catchment and region, there are three common groupings of management actions that can help guide and structure the choice of management strategies:
1. Optimising the combination of ‘protection’ and ‘repair’ actions
It is cheaper and easier to ‘protect’ aquatic ecosystems rather than to repair damaged ecosystems toward their natural state. Therefore, first priority should be to develop ‘protection’ strategies and actions.
2. Groupings by cause of degradation
Formulate strategies to address the following causal pressures , and prioritise these for action:
- point sources of pollution
- pollutants in the urban water cycle (including urban storm water runoff)
- rural land use runoff
- impacts on sub-tidal, inter-tidal and supra-tidal habitats in coastal systems and riparian areas and submerged habitats in terrestrial waterways and wetlands; and
- changes to flow regimes
Strategies and actions to address each of these as they are relevant to your waterway should be formulated so they can be assessed and then prioritised for action.
3. Grouping by instrument for management
Water quality management strategies need to combine regulatory and economic (e.g. market based) instruments, as well as the necessary educational and awareness activities to support behavioural change.
The Coastal CRC’s Environmental Planning Project studied these instruments and recommended a framework (PDF 165KB) whereby regulatory instruments are used to achieve a minimum duty of care and economic incentives (financial and market base) are used to encourage best practice (Coastal CRC).
The NWQMS Implementation Guidelines provides a reference list of instruments to achieve water quality objectives (Department of Environment and Heritage).
This form can be filled out to assist with your alternative management strategies to address causal pressures i.e. causes on land and in-stream (PDF 19KB).
This form can be filled out to assist with scoping current water quality management plans/strategies – (PDF 7KB).
Examples of alternative management strategies can be found in the publication Guidelines for protecting Australian waterways (PDF 3.0 MB).
The Management Action Tracking Database (MAT-D) is a useful online tool for assessing alternative management approaches.