State of the Environment Report title
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2004 Report



Queanbeyan

Surface Water Quality

Indicator description

Results for this indicator are also available for  

What the results tell us for Queanbeyan

| Water quality graphs | Data summary | Trends |

Queanbeyan River is part of the Murrumbidgee River catchment. The quality of Queanbeyan River's surface waters within the city council area remained good during the current reporting period.

This assessment is based on seven monitoring sites for a variety of physico-chemical parameters that are key determinants of surface water quality. The median values of all parameters at all seven sites were within default trigger values during the current reporting period, and generally similar to the median values for the last period.

The main environmental value for most water bodies in Queanbeyan City Council Area was the protection of aquatic ecosystems (see Interpreting the data). These ecosystems sustain a diverse range of plants and animals and provide a focus for water-based recreational activities and eco-tourism. Their water sustains much of the council area's irrigated agriculture.

Trends in surface water quality

The seven monitoring sites located in the council area for which data were available are all in the Murrumbidgee River catchment. They are

All sites were classified as upland streams.

Water quality at each site was assessed by comparing the median values of parameters for the reporting period with the appropriate default trigger values. This approach acts as a warning system to alert natural resource managers of when management changes may be needed.

The median values for all water quality parameters were within the default trigger values during both the current and last reporting periods at each site monitored (see Table 1).

Table 1. Water quality at Queanbeyan City Council Area monitoring sites, 1997 to 2004
Parameter* and locationMedian valuesDefault trigger values**
1997–20002000–04
Queanbeyan River at site 1 view graph
Dissolved oxygen (mg/L)99
Electrical conductivity (µS/cm)173350
pH6.56.5Lower limit 6.5
Upper limit 7.5
Total phosphorus (µg/L)0.050.0320
Temperature (degrees C)1415
Total dissolved solids (mg/L)7060
Turbidity (NTU)101025
Queanbeyan River at site 2 view graph
Dissolved oxygen (mg/L)1010
Electrical conductivity (µS/cm)-197350
pH76.5Lower limit 6.5
Upper limit 7.5
Total phosphorus (µg/L)0.050.0420
Temperature (degrees C)1113
Total dissolved solids (mg/L)7070
Turbidity (NTU)101025
Queanbeyan River at site 3 view graph
Dissolved oxygen (mg/L)88
Electrical conductivity (µS/cm)208350
PH76.5Lower limit 6.5
Upper limit 7.5
Total phosphorus (µg/L)0.030.0520
Temperature (degrees C)1215
Total dissolved solids (mg/L)8075
Turbidity (NTU)101025
Queanbeyan River at site 4 view graph
Dissolved oxygen (mg/L)88
Electrical conductivity (µS/cm)80254350
PH6.56.6Lower limit 6.5
Upper limit 7.5
Total phosphorus (µg/L)0.050.0720
Temperature (degrees C)1414
Total dissolved solids (mg/L)8070
Turbidity (NTU)101025
Queanbeyan River at site 5 view graph
Dissolved oxygen (mg/L)1010
Electrical conductivity (µS/cm)314350
PH6.56.7Lower limit 6.5
Upper limit 7.5
Total phosphorus (µg/L)0.050.0520
Temperature (degrees C)1215
Total dissolved solids (mg/L)8075
Turbidity (NTU)101025
Queanbeyan River at site 6 view graph
Dissolved oxygen (mg/L)87
Electrical conductivity (µS/cm)271350
PH6.56.5Lower limit 6.5
Upper limit 7.5
Total phosphorus (µg/L)0.050.120
Temperature (degrees C)1414
Total dissolved solids (mg/L)8085
Turbidity (NTU)101025
Queanbeyan River at site 7 view graph
Dissolved oxygen (mg/L)6
Electrical conductivity (µS/cm)280350
PH7.1Lower limit 6.5
Upper limit 7.5
Total phosphorus (µg/L)220
Temperature (degrees C)9

* µS/cm = microsiemens per centimetre; µg/L = microgram per litre; NTU = nephelometric turbidity unit; mg/L = milligram per litre; ** For information on default trigger values, see Interpreting the data; – = no data

About the data

Queanbeyan City Council monitored the water quality sites covered in this report and provided data from its database.

Interpreting the data

Default environmental value
The Water Quality and River Flow Interim Environmental Objectives (EPA 1999) for NSW, which are still current, indicate that protection of aquatic ecosystems is the default environmental value for most water bodies in the Murrumbidgee catchment (in which the city council area is located). Although individual councils are free to assign additional or different values through local processes and based on site-specific information, so far no councils in the Australian Capital Region have done so.
Default trigger values
The default trigger values used in this report were those values set out in ANZECC and ARMCANZ (2000). The values applicable to the Australian Capital Region are those for "south-east Australia for slightly disturbed ecosystems" (ANZECC and ARMCANZ 2000). The default trigger values for different water quality parameters for the protection of aquatic ecosystems are based on the type of water body in question. Compared to most other environmental objectives, the protection of aquatic ecosystems is one that requires more stringent water quality guidelines.
Type of waterbody
For the purposes of this State of the Environment Report, an appropriate water body type—lowland coastal rivers below 150 metres altitude or upland streams above 150 metres altitude—was assigned to each monitoring site in the city council area.

The median value (i.e. middle value of a data series) for each monitoring site in the city council area over the reporting period was compared with the default trigger value from the guideline values suggested in ANZECC and ARMCANZ (2000). This approach was recommended when no environmental values were set, water quality objectives were not determined, local reference sites were unavailable and local site-specific information could not be sourced. This broad reporting approach cannot be used to assess 'compliance'; it is merely a warning system to alert natural resource managers.

Additional data

Other potential sources of water quality monitoring data include the Community Access to Natural Resources Information (CANRI) website and the Waterwatch program. A search of Waterwatch Australia's web-based database in July 2005 did not provide any surface water quality data relevant for Queanbeyan City Council Area.

References

ANZECC and ARMCANZ (2000) Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality, National Water Quality Management Strategy No. 4, Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand, October 2000.

Environmental Protection Authority (NSW) (1999) Water Quality and River Flow Interim Environmental Objectives: Murrumbidgee River and Lake George, NSW Environment Protection Authority, Sydney, on-line at http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/ieo/Murrumbidgee/index.htm.

EPA—see Environmental Protection Authority (NSW)