Sensitive water resources

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						 Protecting sensitive
  water resources
The key elements for protecting and restoring the                                                               Looking after all our water needs
environmental values of sensitive water
resources are:
●   community understanding and support for
    these values
●   setting of management objectives for

    water resources
    implementation of a practical attainment
                                                                                                                Sensitive water resources
    strategy for natural resource management
    objectives (see <>).

	 Public drinking water
  source areas
Protection of drinking water areas is important
because treatment and rehabilitation of
contaminated or degraded water resources is
costly and does not guarantee the removal
of contaminants.
Problematic contaminants include pathogenic
micro-organisms from human and domestic animal      Looking after all our water needs
faecal matter, commercial and industrial wastes,
turbidity from erosion and run-off, nutrients and
pesticides from agricultural practices. A multi-    Department of Water
barrier protection strategy is used to prevent      Head Office:
contamination of catchments and maintain the        168 St Georges Terrace,
quality of water in public drinking water source    Perth Western Australia 6000
areas. More information can be found in the         Telephone: 08 6364 7600
Australian drinking water guidelines.               Facsimile: 08 6364 7601
To find the location of sensitive water resources   Website:
and where these environmental values apply,         Email:
contact the Department of Water or view the         Regional offices:
Geographic data atlas on our internet site          For a complete list of our regional offices, please go to
<> in the maps, data and         our website <> and select contact us.
atlases section.
Further information about sensitive water           	 Feedback
resources and how to protect them is available      We welcome your thoughts and suggestions on these
from the Department of Environment and              publications. We aim to regularly update them and
Conservation (<>), the Swan        make them as useful as possible, which in turn will
River Trust (<>) and    improve the level of protection we can provide for
the Western Australian Environmental Protection     Western Australia’s precious water resources.
Authority (<>).                    Please email us at <>
                                                    or contact us via the above information.                    Water quality awareness brochure no. 15 June 2008
                                                      What are sensitive water resources?
                                                      To be considered sensitive, water resources                  4.   Wetlands that are pristine or conservation-
                                                      must support one or more of the following                         valued, but not those highly disturbed, unless
                                                      environmental values:                                             subject to active management to restore specified
                                                      1.   Proclaimed or assigned as a public drinking water            environmental values, including:
                                                           source (i.e. in water reserves, catchment areas or           a.   those managed under the Environmental
                                                           underground water pollution control areas).                       Protection Authority’s environmental protection
                                                      2.   Recognised ecological functions sustained in                      policies such as the Swan coastal plains lakes
                                                           groundwater aquifers (e.g. cave ecology).                    b.   wetlands of regional, national and international
                                                      3.   Ecological and social values in waterways (other                  importance, including conservation category
                                                           than engineered drains or ornamental features) such               wetlands, resource enhancement category
                                                           as aesthetic appeal, boating, fishing, tourism and                wetlands and wetlands listed in A directory
                                                           swimming, including:                                              of important wetlands in Australia. See the
                                                                                                                             Australian Department of the Environment, Water,
                                                           a.   the Avon, Peel-Harvey, Leschenault, Wilson Inlet
                                                                                                                             Heritage and the Arts website
                                                                and Albany waterways management areas
	 Water resources                                          b.   the Swan Canning Riverpark, which consists of
                                                                                                                             database/directory>, which also includes
High-quality water ranks alongside breathable                   the waterways and adjacent public land of the                information on Ramsar convention sites.
air as a vital element to sustain communities.                  Swan, Canning, Helena and Southern rivers.
                                                                                                                   5.   Private water supply sources including the
Clean water resources are needed for drinking                                                                           following uses:

                                                            “ Sensitive water
water, sustaining water and land ecology, industry,                                                                     a.   human or stock consumption
agriculture and aesthetic values. Sensitive water                                                                       b.   commercial or industrial water supplies (with
resources require ongoing protection to meet                                                                                 specific qualities that support the activities,
these needs.                                                  resources require                                              e.g. aquaculture, cooling, food or mineral

                                                                                                                             processing or crop irrigation)
                                                                 ongoing protection                                     c.   garden or municipal water supplies (which can
	 Water quality                                                                                                              affect people’s health or wellbeing).
Sensitive water resources should wherever possible
remain within specific quality limits. They may
require stringent and conservative protection
measures to meet these limits.
Guidance on the water quality parameters and
limits necessary to maintain water resource values
are published in the Australian Government’s
National water quality management strategy
guidelines papers 4 and 6.
Human activity and land uses may pose a risk
to water quality if contaminants are washed
or leached into sensitive water resources in
discernible quantities.

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Description: Sensitive water resources