Water quality hotspots


On 21 September 2015, responsibility for water policy and resources was transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Administrative Arrangement Order made on 21 September 2015.

This website will be updated to reflect these changes.

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;
  • is under pressure as a result of population growth and development, disturbance of acid sulfate soils, and water quality decline; and
  • is suffering ecosystem disturbance leading to habitat loss and biodiversity decline.
Map of Australia's water quality hotspotsMoreton Bay CatchmentsGreat Lakes and its catchments including Myall Lakes Ramsar wetlandHunter River Estuary and its catchment Botany Bay and its catchment (including Towra Point Nature Reserve Ramsar wetland)Gippsland LakesDerwent Estuary and its catchmentPort Phillip Bay and Western Port catchmentsCoorong (including Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar wetland)Adelaide Port WaterwaysAdelaide Coastal WatersDarwin Harbour and its catchmentSwan-Canning EstuaryPeel Inlet and Harvey EstuaryVasse Wonnerup and Geographe Bay catchmentsCorner InletWestern Australia projectsNorthern Territory projectsSouth Australia projectsQueensland projectsNew South Wales projectsVictoria projectsTasmania projectsGreat Barrier Reef

Australia's water quality hotspots

Related activities (supportive projects or part of WQIP)
Hotspots WQIP WSUD Monitoring Predictive Modeling DSS/tools Agricultural BMP ECDs ASS MBIs
Adelaide Coastal Waters        
Botany Bay          
Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Wetlands                
Corner Inlet          
Darwin Harbour          
Derwent Estuary            
Gippsland Lakes        
Great Lakes  
Hunter River Estuary                
Moreton Bay  
Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary  
Port Phillip Bay and Western Port    
Port Waterways          
Swan Canning Estuary System  
Vasse Wonnerup and Geographe Bay  

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.

* Note: 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.