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Water Quality Improvement Plans (WQIPs) and Healthy Waters Management Plans (HWMPs)

The Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009 establishes Healthy Waters Management Plans (HWMPs) as a key planning mechanism to improve the quality of Queensland waters. Key matters to be addressed in a HWMP include identifying:

  • waters to which the plan applies
  • issues affecting water dependent ecosystems, drinking water and natural flows
  • waterway uses and values (otherwise known as 'Environmental Values' and abbreviated as 'EVs')
  • management goals and Water Quality Objectives (WQOs) to protect identified EVs
  • ways to protect the environmental values for the water
  • ways to monitor and assess the effectiveness of the protection.

Key aspects of the process to develop EVs include appropriate consultation with the community and consideration of social and economic impacts of protecting the EVs. A Guideline on HWMPs (PDF, 153K) provides more information on the content and process.

In some areas, regional NRM bodies and Councils have prepared water quality improvement plans (WQIPs) Where WQIPs adequately address matters specified under the EPP Water for HWMPs, they may be accredited as HWMPs.

Healthy waters management plans

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) is working with regional partners throughout Queensland to prepare (or update) HWMPs and WQIPs that meet requirements under the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009.

Murray-Darling Basin

HWMPs are being prepared by EHP in consultation with the three regional NRM bodies in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin. In addition to meeting requirements under the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009, the HWMPs will also be prepared to meet the requirements of a Water Quality Management Plan (WQM Plan) under the Basin Plan 2012. The HWMPs/WQM Plans will apply to the surface waters (including lakes and wetlands) and groundwaters across the following river basins:

Water quality improvement plans

Great Barrier Reef catchments

WQIPs for catchments draining to the Great Barrier Reef were initially prepared by Regional NRM Bodies and Councils under the Australian Government’s Coastal Catchments Initiative. EHP worked with WQIP project teams to ensure that the EVs and WQOs were established consistent with the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009 requirements. A number of regional NRM Bodies are currently updating their WQIPs (refer links below).

WQIPs are also under development in the Fitzroy/Capricorn Coast region (Fitzroy Basin Association) and eastern Cape York (Cape York Regional NRM).

As part of the initial round of WQIPs, consultant Marsden Jacob Associates (MJA) was engaged to identify the economic and social implications of protecting the EVs throughout the region covered by separate WQIPs. The report, The economic and social impacts of protecting the environmental values of the Great Barrier Reef (PDF), is available for downloading.

South East Queensland catchments

There is further information available on how the Queensland Government works with partners in the Healthy Waterways Network to improve the health of the catchments and rivers of South East Queensland.

Last updated
26 February 2016