Darwin Harbour and its catchment


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.

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About the catchment

Covering 3227 km2 in the north-eastern section of the Finniss River drainage basin, the catchment surrounds Darwin Harbour and includes the urban areas of Darwin and Palmerston.

It extends south as far as the Darwin River Dam, west to the Cox Peninsula and the settlements of Belyeun and Wagait Beach, and east to the outskirts of Humpty Doo and Gunn Point.

Values to be protected

The catchment of Darwin Harbour consists of vast plains, rivers, wetlands and coastal and marine environments. It holds significant social, economic, environmental and cultural importance within the Top End Community.

Water quality issues

The catchment of Darwin Harbour contains the largest concentration of residential, commercial and industrial activities in the Northern Territory. Parts of Darwin Harbour are threatened by catchment based sources of pollution, notably urban land-use, agricultural runoff and wastewater point sources.

Increased nutrients and sediments from catchment runoff disturbs the ecology of the lakes system and contribute to excessive growth of algae. Sediments smother or shade-out seagrasses, macrophytes (aquatic plants) and other benthic organisms.

Key water quality improvement projects

Key stakeholders / agencies