Linking the frameworks

The National Water Quality Management Strategy’s objective of sustainable use of the nation’s water resources is complementary to the National Action Plan/National Heritsage Trust’s desired natural resource outcomes for the ‘water’ resource. This is shown in the table below.

Unfortunately, different ‘jargon’ is used in the frameworks to describe similar concepts. The most critical are environmental values which are essentially ‘critical assets’ and water quality objectives which are essentially water quality ‘resource condition targets’.

NWQMS Framework NAP/NHT program frameworks (i) Standards and Targets and (ii) Monitoring and Evaluation frameworks
Objective of strategy/programs Sustainable use of the nation’s water resources Achieve desired national natural resource outcomes
Purpose of frameworks Show how the NWQMS guidelines can be applied
  1. Establish the principles and requirements for NRM standards and targets, and guide investment through national NRM programs
  2. Assess progress towards improved natural resource condition
What is it trying to protect? Environmental values – social, economic and ecological values and uses of waters Critical assets – matters for targets
What does it call the ‘levels of quality’ of the waters it is aiming to achieve? Water quality objectives(these include ecosystem health objectives) Resource condition targets for relevant matters for targets, including:
  1. Inland aquatic ecosystems integrity
  2. Estuarine, coastal and marine habitats integrity
  3. Nutrients in aquatic environments
  4. Turbidity/suspended particulate matter
  5. Surface water salinity (freshwater)

The components of the NAP/NHT program frameworks could equally be described within the NWQMS framework, as setting ‘standards and targets’ and ‘monitoring and evaluation’ are key components of any adaptive management framework.