The Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority (SMCMA) is leading a project to develop a Sydney Harbour Catchment Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP). The development of the Plan will involve several steps over the next 3 years and will require partnership support from the local councils and government agencies which manage land draining into Sydney Harbour.
The project is similar to the successful Botany Bay Water Quality Improvement Plan project currently being managed by the SMCMA.
Objectives of the project
- To develop a Water Quality Improvement Plan that will achieve an improvement in the water quality of Sydney Harbour and its catchments.
- To engage key land managers and other stakeholders in the project design and process, and encourage ownership of the outcomes.
The development of a catchment-wide Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) with the key stakeholders will allow a coordinated approach as well as a transparent and open discussion of the water quality improvements needed to protect the environmental values of Sydney Harbour and tributaries.
Benefits to local councils
The project will offer the following benefits to local councils:
- Access to Pollutant Export (PE) Model for subcatchments to decide what works could be done to achieve subcatchment benefits.
- PE Model provides total annual loads and generation rates (kgs) per hectare.
- Ecological Response (ER) Model illustrates the overall impact on the estuary and assists councils to see how they will be benefitting/how they can benefit the estuary.
- Possible – Hydrologic component of the PE Model would be detailed to input into Councils’ hydraulic flood models.
- The science behind the PE and ER Models would assist grant submissions for water quality improvement works or as part of s94 plans or similar contributory plans.
- Build council capacity to undertake modelling runs.
- Decision Support System (DSS) used to consider impacts of changes in land use and management of stormwater pollutants for each council area.
- DSS results are useful to illustrate issues to councillors and senior managers to encourage budgetary allocation.
- DSS and PE Model used to determine impacts of large developments and identify contributions towards local water quality improvements.
- DSS results used to illustrate problems/issues to the community.
- Costs of management actions can be estimated.
- DSS training, copy of DSS and a user manual will be provided.
- City of Sydney Council is currently using Botany Bay DSS to develop their Stormwater Management Plan (SMP).
- If a SMP is already developed then the DSS and PE Model can be used to verify actions.
- Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) will:
– Provide major stakeholder input into the strategic management of Sydney Harbour and catchments.
– Provide a valuable reference in planning policies, budget proposals and external funding applications.
– Allow councils to see how they fit into the bigger picture and how they can participate in regional planning. The Federal Government and the Department of Planning & Infrastructure are encouraging regional planning.
- The process will allow practitioners to share experiences, ideas and knowledge.
- Value for money – a small contribution per year compared with the total cost of the project.
- Opportunity for council officers to identify other benefits that can be extracted from the project and used for other council requirements eg. contributions towards climate change modelling, contour information from Geosciences Australia DEM.
Exclusive benefits to contributing partners
- Access to models and DSS
- Training for Pollutant Export model and Decision Support System
- Access to GIS developed from the project
- Access to data from data compilation study
- Member of Steering Committee, and
- PR benefits as part of an innovative project for the iconic Sydney Harbour
For more information about the Sydney Harbour Water Quality Improvement Plan project, contact: Peter Freewater, Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority.
Phone: 9895 7428 | Email: peter.freewater @ cma.nsw.gov.au
©Underwater photography by David Harasti for the SMCMA