Water quality management—an outline of the policies

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Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand and the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council, 1994

This paper outlines the policies that form the basis of the National Water Quality Management Strategy (NWQMS) . A more detailed discussion of the policies and principles underlying the strategy is provided in Policies and principles—a reference document.

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Background

Effective water quality management is a vital step towards ecologically sustainable development.

Water is vital for life, as a water supply for people, for the diverse ecosystems on which we depend, for agriculture, industry and recreation.

Commonwealth, state and territory governments are working together to develop a National Water Quality Management Strategy for Australia. The strategy is part of the national program for ecologically sustainable development and aims to deliver a nationally consistent approach to water quality management.

The strategy sets out a national framework within which all stakeholders can contribute to better water quality management. The strategy is based on policies and principles for water quality management that apply nation-wide and will include guidelines covering key elements of the water cycle.

A process has been developed that sets a national, strategic direction for water quality management. This strategic direction will form the basis of action plans designed to manage water quality in particular catchment areas, while allowing for local conditions and the needs of the local community. The regional community will be encouraged to identify environmental values to be protected.

States and territories will develop appropriate action plans for the waters in their region. These action plans will flow from the national policies and guidelines after taking local conditions and community needs into account.