The Water NSW Act 2014 requires that there be an independent audit of the health of the declared Sydney catchment area at least every three years.
The audit report is provided to the Minister responsible for WaterNSW.
The first audit for the declared Sydney catchment area was published in 1999. The most recent audit addresses the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016 and is available at:
- 2016 Audit of the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment – MAIN FINDINGS
- 2016 Audit of the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment – THE INDICATORS
- Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Audit 2013-2016 – DATA RECORDS.
Catchment health indicators
Catchment audits are required to assess the health of the declared catchment areas using a list of indicators developed under Section 41 of the Water NSW Act 2014.
The current catchment health indicators are:
Land use and human settlements
- Land use
- Sites of pollution and potential contamination
- Soil erosion
- Population settlements and patterns
- Community attitudes, aspirations and engagement
Biodiversity and habitats
- Riparian vegetation
- Native vegetation
- Physical form
- Surface water flow
- Environmental flows
- Groundwater availability
- Ecosystem and raw water quality
- Nutrient load
- Cyanobacterial blooms
WaterNSW is required to evaluate the findings of the catchment audit to the extent to which they relate to its activities and risks to water quality. WaterNSW is also required to incorporate the findings of the audit into its risk framework, and its programs and activities relating to catchment management.
WaterNSW is required to report to the Minister on its progress to achieve improvements in catchment health, to prevent degradation of existing catchment health and to maintain existing catchment health, having regard to the findings. Such a report must be provided within two years after the catchment audit report is received by the Minister. The report in response to the 2016 Catchment Audit is due in July 2019.