ACT Region’s Waterway Health Improving

The latest Catchment Health Indicator Program (CHIP) report has delivered promising results with the water quality of our local catchments showing the highest number of excellent ratings recorded in ten years. Catchment health has been supported by above average rainfall in recent years.

Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury said the 2023 CHIP Report, released today by Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch, showed improvements due to community restoration initiatives, continued good rainfall and the ACT Government’s installation of healthy delivery of wetlands, raingardens, swales and other infrastructure through the Healthy Waterways program.

“The 2023 CHIP Report contains some promising findings which show that the ACT Government’s Healthy Waterways infrastructure projects are making an important contribution to enhancing biodiversity and improving waterway health, alongside community restoration efforts by volunteers such as tree plantings and weed control,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“2023 returned to more average rainfall, with some drier periods throughout the year after the La Niña conditions in 2022. Steadier water levels supported the riparian vegetation that provides important habitat for waterbugs and other wildlife.

“With climate change and the increased variability in rainfall it will bring, protecting the health of our waterways will become increasingly important. But with the continued work of community volunteers, and our continued investment in the Healthy Waterways program, I am hopeful that catchment healths will continue to improve, supporting increased biodiversity and better water quality.

“The 2023 CHIP report also included Aboriginal Water Assessments that Ngunnawal Traditional Custodians are undertaking in the Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment. The Aboriginal Waterways Assessment tool enables Traditional Custodians to use a cultural lens to assess the health of Country and set priorities for water and natural resource management.

“The CHIP Report uses data collected by citizen scientists to provide an understanding of waterway and riparian health issues. The report is based on 1,946 water quality surveys, 189 waterbug surveys and 132 riparian condition surveys conducted by over 200 volunteers.

“I am incredibly grateful for the many hours that of volunteers have put in to collect data for the CHIP report and to help us better understand the health of our waterways. This work is so important to informing our work to improve waterway health. I would also like to acknowledge Icon Water for their continued support for the program,” said Minister Rattenbury.

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