Ten-year approach to better management

Gara River.

A new Catchment Water Quality Strategic Plan 2022 – 2032 guiding Council and its stakeholders to better manage water quality entering streams and water reservoirs is now on public exhibition for community feedback.

The Catchment Water Quality Strategic Plan 2022 – 2032 has been developed by Council in consultation with community members and stakeholders, to provide a roadmap to enhance water quality in reservoirs and river sources across the Armidale region, and address issues identified in water risk assessments conducted in 2019 and 2021.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor Sam Coupland said the strategic plan includes a broad range of goals and priority projects to be implemented over the next 10 years to deliver healthier river systems and water catchments outcomes for the benefit of town water supplies.

“While we can treat and disinfect water to improve its quality to meet Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, it’s important to monitor and regulate water flowing into our catchments and prevent contamination at the source,” Mayor Coupland said.

“We need to ensure our river streams have minimal impurity and promote collaborative initiatives for healthier water for our people, our communities and our natural environment.”

Goals and initiatives outlined in the Catchment Water Quality Strategic Plan 2022 – 2032 include reducing erosion and pollution from industry, limiting stock access to waterways, minimise leakage from onsite effluent management infrastructure, creating awareness around appropriate fertiliser and agrichemical use, and promoting increased ground and tree cover.

“We also need to recognise that climate change may lead to increased drought and heavy rain events, and consider pressures of population growth, all of which impact catchment water quality, and how to best manage our water systems during those extreme times,” concluded Mayor Coupland.

The 10-year plan sets out a vision, goals and actions for Council and stakeholders to adopt a targeted approach and guide strategic improvements for better water quality in the Armidale Regional Local Government Area.