Water on your property

If you have water running through or on your property there are a number of things you can do to ensure you continue to protect and keep our waterways healthy.

Riparian zones

A riparian zone is land alongside creeks, streams, gullies, rivers and wetlands. These areas are unique and diverse and are often the most fertile parts of the landscape, but they are also vulnerable and can be easily degraded.

Did you know? Riparian zones can support cleaner water, reduce disease and pests, and retain important nutrients and soil.

How can these areas be damaged?

  • Uncontrolled stock access
  • Clearing for agriculture or urban development
  • Invasion by pests and feral animals
  • Weeds
  • Overuse by recreational activities.

What can you do to keep these areas healthy?

  • Use fences to control or prevent stock access to riparian areas. Consider using alternative troughs to water stock.
  • Encourage the regeneration of native plants or assist growth by planting natives and controlling weeds.
  • Allow layers of different vegetation to grow: groundcovers, understorey and canopy.
  • Seek professional advice about erosion control, or about unique problems associated with crossings or bridges.
  • Consider the benefits of well-managed riparian areas: increased bank stability and improved water quality, easier stock management, and improved productivity.


Swamps, marshes, billabongs, lagoons, fens, peatlands and chain-o-ponds; all these are names for wetlands. Wetlands are unique areas that support many different kinds of aquatic plants and wildlife.

Wetlands play a key role in how our environment functions. They can help purify incoming flows of water by breaking down nutrients and other pollutants, act as natural sinks and reduce flooding, and support life during times of drought. It’s very important we keep our wetlands areas healthy.

How can these areas be damaged?

  • Draining for agricultural or urban development
  • Water impoundment and farm dams
  • Extraction
  • Uncontrolled stock access
  • Clearing for vegetation.

What can you do to keep these areas healthy?

  • Use fences to control stock access to wetlands and create a buffer zone where possible.
  • Avoid actions which may interfere with water flows near wetlands, such as farm dam construction.
  • Investigate wetland plants, soils and water, and decide if actions are needed to protect, or restore its values.
  • Control pests and weeds and seek advice about using the right methods.
  • Monitor wetland changes over time, and seek advice about what they mean, and what you can do.
Remember: You should always seek advice about managing wetlands on your property.

Farm dams

Farm dams provide essential water for stock, irrigation and gardens. They also provide a habitat for wildlife, water for fire protection and can be used for recreation.

Maintaining the health of your farm dam can improve the health of your animals and increase the productivity and value of your land. This requires not just managing the farm dam but also its catchment.

How can these areas be damaged?

  • Uncontrolled stock access
  • Polluting water with dung and urine
  • Disturbing the soil
  • Damaging vegetation
  • Causing erosion and sedimentation
  • Pesticide and herbicide runoff
  • Location of farm infrastructure.

What can you do to keep these areas healthy?

  • Use fences to limit or prevent stock access to dams. If stock access to the dam is totally removed, consider using alternative troughs to water stock.
  • Maintain or re-plant native grasses and shrubs to maintain groundcover near dams and along drainage lines and depressions.
  • Avoid using fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides near dams.
  • Plant reeds and rushes around dam inflows to help filter out sediments and nutrients before they enter the dam.
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WaterNSW acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and pay our respects to all elders past, present and emerging. Learn more