Learning from the Past

Hornsby Shire Council started monitoring water quality in local waterways in 1994. This was soon after a Statement of Joint Intent (SoJI) was signed by the (then) NSW Department of Planning, Environmental Protection Agency, Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Trust, Hornsby Shire Council and the (then) Water Board. The SoJI was an agreement established in response to environmental issues which included the regular occurrence of algal blooms in Berowra Creek, increasing pressures of urban development and sewage discharge, and the recognition of the detrimental impacts of catchment activities on water quality.

The monitoring program was initially designed to determine if water quality was improving or declining through time, investigate the impact of different land-use on waterways and to monitor the performance of Council’s Catchments Remediation Rate (CRR) program. Council’s water quality monitoring efforts have evolved to include more wholistic waterway health monitoring, assessment of CRR initiatives, assessment of risks in recreational waters (swimming conditions), detection of harmful algal blooms, assessment of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) impacts, and monitoring to support asset management and water conservation initiatives.