Water quality hotspots

​A water quality hotspot has been defined as having all of the following characteristics:

  • aquatic ecosystem with high ecological, social, cultural and/or recreational values
  • encompasses one or more matters of national environmental significance and is defined under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • under pressure as a result of population growth and development, disturbance of acid sulfate soils and water quality decline
  • suffering ecosystem disturbance leading to habitat loss and biodiversity decline.

Australia's water quality hotspots

Map of Australia's water quality hotspots Moreton Bay Catchments Great Lakes and its catchments including Myall Lakes Ramsar wetland Hunter River Estuary and its catchment Botany Bay and its catchment (including Towra Point Nature Reserve Ramsar wetland) Gippsland Lakes Derwent Estuary and its catchment Port Phillip Bay and Western Port catchments Coorong (including Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar wetland) Adelaide Port Waterways Adelaide Coastal Waters Darwin Harbour and its catchment Swan-Canning Estuary Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary Vasse Wonnerup and Geographe Bay catchments Corner Inlet  

New South Wales water quality hotspots

Northern Territory water quality hotspots

Queensland water quality hotspots

South Australia water quality hotspots

Tasmania water quality hotspots

Victoria water quality hotspots

Western Australia water quality hotspots

Related activities (supportive projects or part of water quality improvement plan), 2002 to 2008

Hotspots WQIP WSUD Monitoring Predictive modelling DSS/tools Agricultural BMP ECDs ASS MBIs
Adelaide Coastal WatersYesYesYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Botany BayNoYesYesYesNoNoYesNoNo
Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert WetlandsNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNo
Corner InletNoNoYesYesYesNoYesNoNo
Darwin HarbourNoYesYesYesNoNoNoYesNo
Derwent EstuaryYesNoYesYesNoNoNoNoNo
Gippsland LakesNoNoYesYesNoYesYesYesNo
Great LakesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Hunter River EstuaryNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNo
Moreton BayYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Peel Inlet and Harvey EstuaryYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Port Phillip Bay and Western PortYesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYes
Port WaterwaysYesNoYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Swan Canning Estuary SystemYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Vasse Wonnerup and Geographe BayYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYes

The Australian and Queensland governments have agreed, through a Memorandum of Understanding, to jointly develop a Reef Water Quality Protection Plan to protect the reef from land-based sources of pollution. The plan will build on previous and ongoing processes undertaken by the two governments to address issues that relate to this threat, including work undertaken by the Reef Protection Taskforce.

Between 2002 and 2008, the Australian Government provided funding for the Coastal Catchments Initiative (CCI), a national program designed to improve and protect water quality in coastal water quality hotspots, by promoting competent water quality planning. An outcome of this funding was the development of Water Quality Improvement Plans and Associated Projects in coastal hotspots around Australia.