Issues in Australian Geography-Georges River Catchment
Introduction to the Georges River
The Georges River is a waterway in the state of New South
Wales in Australia. It rises to the south-west of Sydney near the town
of Appin, and then flows north past Campbelltown, roughly paralleling the
Main South Railway. At Liverpool it then turns east and flows past suburbs
such as East Hills, Lugarno, Bangor and Blakehurst, before emptying
into Botany Bay at Taren Point in the southern suburbs of Sydney.
Description of location of the Georges River
The Georges River begins its journey near Appin, and is fed by a major
tributary Madden's Creek. It then flows through the areas of Campbelltown,
Liverpool, Bankstown, Menai, Hurstville and Rockdale until it reaches
Major tributaries include Cabramatta Creek, Prospect Creek and the
Woronora River. The Georges River is popular for recreational activities
such as water skiing and swimming. The banks of the river along the lower
reaches are marked by large inlets and indentations overlooked by steep
sandstone ridges and scarps, many being home to expensive residential
The Georges River features some artificial lakes in the suburb of Chipping
Norton, near Liverpool. These lakes, known as the Chipping Norton Lakes,
are the result of sand mining. The Lakes are now a popular water sports and
Geographical Processes relevant to the catchment
A catchment is an area where water is collected by the natural landscape. In
a catchment, all rain and run-off water eventually flows to a creek, river,
lake or ocean, or into the groundwater system.
Natural and human systems such as rivers, bushland, farms, dams, homes,
plants, animals and people can co-exist in a catchment.
Healthy catchments provide:
a source of clean drinking water
unspoilt natural areas for recreation and scenic enjoyment
habitat for plants and animals
healthy vegetation and waterways
reliable and clean water for stock and irrigation, and
Opportunities for sustainable agriculture and industry.
The Georges River is home to many different species of flora and fauna and
has a big biodiversity range. The Georges River is used for recreational
activities such as fishing, water skiing and boating, it is also used for
commercial oyster farming and the water from the Georges River connects
with the Woronora River which is then used for drinking water and water
around the house.
Fluvial processes comprise the motion of sediment and erosion of
or deposition on the river bed.
Erosion by moving water happens in two ways. First, the movement of water
across the bed has an effect (This is called hydraulic action). Second, the
sediment being transported in the river wears away the bed (Abrasion) and
the fragments themselves are ground down becoming smaller and more
The sediment is transported as either bedload (The coarser fragments which
move close to the bed) or as the suspended load (Finer fragments carried in
the water). There is also a component carried as dissolved material.
Storm water runoff & waste water issues
The water quality was not good enough to be drinkable. But it was
acceptable to swim in.
Test Type Test Results Acceptable Std
Chemical Phosphates 1 0-0.1 ppm
pH 7 6-8.3
Biological Faecal Coliform- <4 colonies per
Physical Turbidity 10.15 <30 NTU
There were a few particles in the water at the time of testing and there was
little litter present.
There were no odours.
The major sources of pollution to the Georges River Estuary are stormwater
run off from urban areas including roads and open spaces, wet weather
sewer overflows, past contamination of land and sediment, and stormwater
run off from rural lands. These sources put metals, oils, grease, toxic
organic compounds and high levels of nutrients in the river. Contaminants
found in bottom sediments have resulted in commercial and recreational
fishing bans in the lower reaches. An oyster industry previously operated
but was stopped due to oyster disease. In addition, poor water quality after
heavy rains compromises swimming and boating activities. Increased runoff
from impervious surfaces, the removal of upland swamps, groundwater
extractions and past dredging have modified the volume and pattern of the
An evaluation of Georges River Catchments current management
Name of plan
This plan is Greater Metropolitan Regional Environmental Plan No 2—
2 Where plan applies
This plan applies to the Catchment, which is part of the region declared
under the Act and known as the Greater Metropolitan Region. The
Catchment consists of parts of Bankstown City, Blacktown City,
Campbelltown City, Camden, Canterbury City, Fairfield City, Holroyd
City, Hurstville City, Kogarah, Liverpool City, Rockdale City, Sutherland,
Wollondilly and Wollongong City local government areas that are within the
Georges River Catchment. The catchment map indicates the boundary of the
5 Aims and objectives
(1) The general aims and objectives of this plan are as follows:
(a) to maintain and improve the water quality and river flows of the Georges
its tributaries and ensure that development is managed in a manner that is in
with the national, state, regional and local significance of the Catchment,
(b) to protect and enhance the environmental quality of the Catchment for
the benefit of
all users through the management and use of the resources in the Catchment
ecologically sustainable manner,
(c) to ensure consistency with local environmental plans and also in the
delivery of the
principles of ecologically sustainable development in the assessment of
within the Catchment where there is potential to impact adversely on ground
and on the water quality and river flows within the Georges River or its
(d) to establish a consistent and coordinated approach to environmental
assessment for land along the Georges River and its tributaries and to
integrated catchment management policies and programs in the planning and
management of the Catchment,
(e) to encourage more effective consultation between local government and
Government agencies in executing the responsibility for environmental
within the Catchment,
(f) to provide a mechanism that assists in achieving the water quality
objectives and river
flow objectives agreed under the Water Reform Package.
Current river plans are effective, but they are hard to notice because it takes
a lot of time for its effect to be seen.
Propose Individual and Government/Group action
Individuals can use less storm water, not littering in the river, campaigning
with friends against dumping rubbish in the river.
Government/groups can help by removing litter, using more
environmentally friendly products. They can also raise awareness through
education, campaigns and T.V. advertising.
Governments can shut off all storm water pipes into the Georges River,
invest in environmentally friendly products and reduce fishing.