• Expanding role of federal government in water • Major investments (>AUD$10 billion) to improve river health • 2005 Report from National Water Commission identified need for national-level reporting.Presentation Heading
FARWH - National Framework forAssessment of River and Wetland Health• Designed to provide the information necessary to: – establish ‘environmental and other public benefit outcomes’ – ‘address currently over allocated and/or overused systems’ – support ‘integrated management of environmental water’ (water policy priorities under the 2004 National Water Initiative)• Series of trials between 2005 – 2011• Final report in September 2011
General approach to pilot studies• Use existing data/monitoring programs to greatest possible extent• Assessment at river reach/wetland scale , with at least 5% of river reaches or wetlands to be represented• Develop methods for weighting of sites – e.g. based on reach length represented by the site – to allow for reporting at a regional level
Indicators• Total of 6 themes: hydrology, physical form, catchment disturbance, fringing zone, aquatic biota, water quality• A minimum of 3 of the 6 to be assessed before a regional score is given• Flexibility in which (sub)indicators
Reference conditionSet through a combination of: – Minimally disturbed sites – Historical data – Modelled data – Professional opinionGuiding principle that reference should be as close aspossible to natural (pre-European)
Standardising scores Scores standardized such that it doesn’t matter which themes or which sub-indicators are used. E.g. 0.8 for salinity = 0.8 for nutrients | (site value – reference value) |Score = 1.0 - | (worst case value – reference value) |
Figure 1: The initial FARWH assessment approach A s s e s s m e n ts D a t a a n a ly s is F A R W H c o n d it io n a n d d a ta A p p lic a tio n s ( fo r e a c h s u b - in d e x a n d in d e x ) ( f o r e a c h in d e x ) c o lle c tio n S u b - in d e x A C a tc h m e n t C a tc h m e n t S u b - in d e x B D is tu r b a n c e s c o r e D is tu r b a n c e S u b - in d e x C 0 – 1 S u b - in d e x A H y d r o lo g ic a l H y d r o lo g ic a l S u b - in d e x B D is tu r b a n c e s c o r e D is tu r b a n c e S u b - in d e x C 0 – 1 S u b - in d e x A F r in g in g F r in g in g Z o n e s c o r e P r io r it is a t io n o f S u b - in d e x B Zone 0 – 1 a c tio n s P r e - e x is tin g S u b - in d e x C ju r is d ic t io n a l p ro g ra m s S u b - in d e x A W a te r Q u a lity a n d W a te r Q u a lity J u r is d ic t io n a l S u b - in d e x B S o ils s c o r e a n d S o ils r e p o r t in g S u b - in d e x C 0 – 1 S u b - in d e x A P h y s ic a l P h y s ic a l F o r m s c o r e S u b - in d e x B F o rm 0 – 1 S u b - in d e x C S u b - in d e x A S u b - in d e x B A q u a tic B io t a s c o r e A q u a t ic B io t a 0 - 1 S u b - in d e x C C o m p le t e d fo r a s m a n y in d ic e s a s p o s s ib le C u s to m is e a n d a d o p t lo c a lly r e le v a n t s u b - in d ic e s W ill n o t a lw a y s b e t h r e e s u b - in d ic e s f o r e a c h in d e x
Scores from Queensland FARWH trial Burdekin Moreton Cooper Creek Pioneer SWMA Tully SWMA SWMA SWMA SWMAFringing Zone 0.61 0.56 0.41 0.86 0.90Catchment 0.62 0.56 0.66 0.82 0.47DisturbanceAquatic Biota 0.82 0.89 0.72 0.83 0.67Water Quality 0.84 0.86 0.75 0.85 0.86and SoilsHydrological 0.33 0.48 0.58 N/A N/ADisturbancePhysical Form 0.96 0.86 0.97 0.90 0.70Overall score 0.63 0.66 0.64 0.85 0.68Table 21. Current era (2008–09) assessment for Qld FARWH trial SWMA
5. Overall results for the 2008–09 assessment of th
Findings of the trialReporting of condition scores2.The trials successfully applied the six key indices andsupported their use in future.3.The trials found that the 0 to 1 condition rating wasachievable and (mostly) meaningful.4.The trials identified the need to include an additionalmeasure of wetland extent.
Findings of trial (cont)Reference conditionThe trials supported the use of reference condition as away to identify and report on condition.However, all trials found that further work was required toimprove the understanding of reference condition.Two-tiered approachA two-tiered approach would be useful to identify specificareas for greater field sampling effort, based on an overallbroadscale assessment – used as basis for targetingareas for more costly field-based assessments.
What next?Five options presented to government:•Continue with jurisdictional reporting (current practice)•National reporting every 10 years•National reporting every 5 years (broadscale assessment)•National reporting every 5 years (broadscale + limited fieldassessment)•National reporting every 5 years (broadscale + detailed fieldassessment)
Further informationwww.nwc.gov.auwww.water.gov.au Alignment of state and national river and wetland health assessment needs Framework for the assessment of river and wetland health: findings from September 2011 the trials and options for uptake Alluvium Consulting Waterlines Report Series No 58, September 2011 1 NATIONAL WATER COMMISSION — WATERLINES i