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1384.6 - Statistics - Tasmania, 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/09/2002   
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Contents >> Environment >> Water >> Water quality

Monitoring surface water quality enables us to better understand and protect the aquatic ecosystem. Water quality can be assessed by measuring both the physiochemical and biological characteristics of our waterways.

Monitoring water quality helps us to:

  • assess waterway condition (physiochemical)
  • assess the health of instream aquatic biota (biological)
  • identify potential sources of pollution
  • protect public health
  • understand the relationship between water quality and land management practices
  • provide information for the development of catchment management plans
  • provide information for the development of policies.

(Source: Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment.)

The ecological condition of our surface water resources can be assessed by measuring the presence, diversity and abundance of macroinvertebrates (insects, snails and worms) in different stretches of river. The presence or absence of these aquatic macroinvertebrates tells us a lot about the condition of our waterways.

By sampling aquatic macroinvertebrates from relatively undisturbed rivers, researchers can find out the range of species that should be present in undisturbed and unpolluted river habitats.

According to the National Land and Water Resources Audit 2001, some 20% of Tasmania's assessed sites (23% of Australia's) were significantly impaired and had lost 20-50% of macroinvertebrates expected to be present. A further 3% (6% for Australia) were severely impaired (had lost 50-80% of expected macroinvertebrates) and 2% (the same as for Australia as a whole) were extremely impaired (had lost more than 80% of expected macroinvertebrates).

RIVER CONDITION(a)

Tasmania
Australia

%
%

Significantly impaired(b)
20
23
Severely impaired(c)
3
6
Extremely impaired(d)
2
2

(a) Measured by diversity of macroinvertebrates (insects, snails and worms) that inhabit different stretches of river.
(b) Had lost 20-50% of expected macroinvertebrates.
(c) Had lost 50-80% of expected macroinvertebrates.
(d) Had lost more than 80% of expected macroinvertebrates.

Source: National Land and Water Resources Audit 2001.


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