Report targets sediment as number one issue

THIS year's Healthy Waterways Report Card expanded the criteria to measure the amount and impact of sediment entering the waterways and the level of social and economic benefit the waterways are providing to local communities.

A new Waterway Benefits Rating also provides a benchmark to measure future improvements or declines in the benefits and services the waterways provide to local communities.

With the exception of the Stanley River to the north, which is in good condition, the western catchments are generally in poor condition due to a legacy of long-term riparian vegetation clearing.

Meanwhile the level of benefits that communities receive from their local waterways ranges from moderate to high. Some of the highest numbers of landholders in the region are engaged in waterway restoration activities in the western catchments.

The report notes that the western catchments support a nationally important "food bowl".

"To protect the community's livelihood, it is essential to retain valuable agricultural soil and ensure the availability of water for irrigation," the report states.

"Local councils are working with the Council of Mayors (SEQ) and landholders to prioritise actions that will stabilise riverbanks and decrease pollutant loads generated from high intensity land use."

Seqwater Chief Executive Officer Peter Dennis said he was pleased the report card addressed the pressure of sediment on water quality and its impact on the social benefits of waterways.

"As growing amounts of mud and silt are washed into our dams, it becomes more difficult to treat water, which increases the cost and duration of treatment," he said.

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