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Risk-based framework for urban waterway health

Published 1 July 2021 Apply the Risk-based Framework in South Creek as an urban diffuse source water pollution pilot.
content image Conservation volunteers kayaking in Sydney Harbour. Photo by: R. Nicolai, NSW Department of Planning and Environment


Healthy waterways are important for a healthy environment, society and economy.

The risk-based framework helps councils assess the impacts of land-use activities on local waterways. A risk-based approach allows waterways to be managed based on the level of risk.

The risk-based framework combines the key parts of the national water quality management strategy into a five-step process. It does this by:

  • finding out how communities value and use their local waterways
  • identifying waterways that are most sensitive to land use activities and require protection from pollution
  • working out how management actions lower the impacts on waterways to make sure the community’s values and uses are being met
  • providing a clear and transparent process for management decisions that affect waterways.


Central region Sydney - South Creek

Local government areas - Ballina Shire, Mid-coast council, Wollongong council

Lead agency

Department of Planning and Environment – Environment, Energy & Science


Local government, Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries, Local Land Services

More information

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