QUEANBEYAN and Canberra will benefit from cleaner water in the coming years following the launch of a new, collaborative water management plan in Queanbeyan on Tuesday.
The Actions for Clean Water (ACWA) Plan integrates a range of strategies and water management authorities from the Upper Murrumbidgee catchment to reduce turbidity in Southern New South Wales and the ACT.
Representatives from the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority , ACT Natural Resource Management Council, Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch and ACTEW Water gathered at the RB Smith Community Centre to launch the plan, and ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell said it would provide an important planning framework in the years to come.
"This is designed to give guidance to catchment management authorities, water watch groups, communities and governments about how we can tackle issues around turbidity in the Upper Murrumbidgee," Mr Corbell said.
"This plan really sets out a broad range of principals about how we can tackle turbidity in the Upper Murrumbidgee. We've seen the Upper Murrumbidgee suffer from a range of impacts over the last decade. Fire and flood have all had an impact, as well as the ongoing impact of land use and what that means for water ways.
"So whether we're in the ACT or in NSW, there are a range of steps that can be taken to improve the way we manage the catchment, and the plan really sets out those broad principals," he said.
Water turbidity, caused by soil erosion into waterways, degrades the health of river systems and increases the cost of filtering.Murrumbidgee CMA general manager John Francis said a collaborative approach to tackling turbidity would benefit the overall health of the catchment while lowering the cost of filtering for water providers.
"Turbidity is a big issue that first started back in the 1880s with land clearing and stock moving into the area and overgrazing.
"So we're pinpointing sites that are now active [actively eroding], and you can use strategies like rock walls and other works to minimise that erosion. "It means there's less cost in terms of filtering the water, and the landscape is healthier, so it's a win-win in that respect," he said.