Leaders emerge in urban water management for the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef’s conservation status was recently downgraded from “significant concern” to “critical” in a concerning recent world heritage outlook report released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the official advisory body on nature to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.


While climate change is assigned most of the blame, several key human activities are also highlighted for their impact on the reef, including construction and agricultural land-based sediment run-off, pollution and inappropriate fishing use.

The Water by Design team, an initiative of Healthy Land and Water, is raising awareness of sediment, nutrients and other pollutants entering waterways – including the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon – that affect the health of coral and seagrass ecosystems.

The Water by Design team recently completed a series of construction erosion compliance training workshops as part of the Queensland Great Barrier Reef Urban Stormwater and Erosion Capacity Building program. These workshops were delivered in five major centres along the Queensland coast including Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cains.

The program aims to support regional communities to green their urban areas, improve social and visual amenity of open spaces and deliver good outcomes for the reef and its people.

Over 200 officers from local councils and state government departments attended the training days.

To enable this, the Water by Design team is leading the Reef Urban Stormwater Management Group (RUSMG) group, made up of Great Barrier Reef Council representatives, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) and the Department of Environment and Science (DES).

RUSMG is working towards providing world’s best practice sustainable urban water management to maintain the global values of the Great Barrier Reef.

Healthy Land and Water is grateful for the group’s continued support, leadership, and direction they provide to the Water by Design team in delivering their workshops.

For more information about upcoming workshops please contact us on (07) 3177 9100 or info@hlw.org.au

Read more about the program: https://waterbydesign.com.au/wsud-in-nq

Read the report here: https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/2020-035-En.pdf


The Urban Stormwater and Erosion and Sediment Control Capacity Building program is funded through the Queensland Government’s ‘Investing in Our Environment for the Future Program’ and delivered by the Department of Environment and Science (DES).

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