Our rivers are a source of water for drinking and household needs. They supply water for industry and agriculture and are used to transport effluent. They also provide a valuable resource for recreational use. But first and foremost they provide some fundamental environmental services.
The ecology of a river includes the fauna and flora and their physical habitats, the physical and chemical state of the water and how that affects the flora and fauna, the dynamics of water flow and the transport of nutrients and their transformation by microorganisms and other microscopic animals. The health of a river depends on its capacity to support these key processes and life forms.
Across Australia our knowledge of how our rivers function is incomplete and the NSW Office of Water is undertaking a number of studies to enhance our understanding of how these river ecosystems respond to droughts and changing river flows and water levels.
Such knowledge and information is essential to not only ensuring that our water resource planning adequately considers the rivers and their ecology, but also to ensuring that the way we manage catchments and landuse considers potential off-site impacts and mitigates against any decline in river health.
In this section
- River Murray Works Program