Land use planning and zoning

Land use planning and zoning

Local councils are responsible for land use zoning in the catchment. To protect water quality, it is important to ensure zoning decisions are consistent with the physical capability of land.

WaterNSW has developed strategic land and water capability assessments (SLWCA) for land in the catchment.

The SLWCA assists councils to prepare and review their local environmental plans (LEPs) and decide on land use zoning and other provisions that are appropriate to protect water quality. WaterNSW has provided councils with SLWCA data, maps, guidelines and training to help prepare their LEPs. These inputs included:

  • slope
  • soil erodibility
  • soil permeability
  • soil depth
  • distance to watercourses
  • vegetation cover.

Stage two of the SLWCA involved modelling of land and water capability for 10 land use types:

  • Intensive livestock agriculture
  • Intensive plant agriculture
  • Extensive agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Residential unsewered lots 2,000 - 4,000 square metres
  • Residential unsewered lots 4,000 square metres - 2 hectares
  • Residential sewered lots
  • Retail/ Commercial
  • Light Industrial
  • Hazardous/ Heavy Industrial.

SLWCA maps for the entire drinking water catchment are available to the public for each of the land use types listed above (see the bottom of this page).

The SLWCA maps show land use capability, based on risk to water quality, according to the following classification system:

Representation for map colour coding described in text

When viewing the SLWCA maps, if the risk to water quality is high, there will be more red and orange areas on the map. This means that the land has low to very low capability to sustain that particular land use from a water quality perspective. If the risk to water quality is low, there will be more green and yellow areas on the map, meaning that the land has a high to moderate capability land to sustain that particular land use from a water quality perspective.

The SLWCA maps do not show land use capability information for National Parks or WaterNSW owned land. Each land use map blocks land areas that are not relevant to that particular land use.

SLWCA can be used by councils, other planning authorities, and WaterNSW to help determine the potential impact of future land use changes on water quality. Planning authorities can use information from the SLWCA with other environmental constraints mapping and data, and social and economic information, to help develop their planning proposals. Incorporating capability information at an early stage will help planning authorities to decide land use zones and accompanying land uses that are most likely to have a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality.


Thursday 04 June
2,121,025 ML
2,596,150 ML
9,459 ML
1,352 ML
-4,109 ML
Thursday 04 June