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Environmental Protection Policy (Water)


The quality of natural waters in Queensland (e.g. water in rivers, creeks, wetlands, lakes, estuaries and coastal areas and ground waters) is protected under the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009 (EPP(Water)). The EPP(Water) achieves the object of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) to protect Queensland's waters while supporting ecologically sustainable development. Queensland waters include water in rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes, aquifers, estuaries and coastal areas.

Environmental values (EVs) and water quality objectives (WQOs) are being progressively determined for areas of Queensland. EVs define the uses of the water by aquatic ecosystems and for human uses (e.g. drinking water, irrigation, aquaculture, recreation). WQOs define objectives for the physical characteristics of the water (e.g. nitrogen content, dissolved oxygen, turbidity). A fact sheet (PDF, 408K) is available with more detail on EVs and WQOs.

Maps showing areas of current future scheduling.

Areas of current and future scheduling can be viewed on the following maps;

In high ecological value (HEV) areas, WQOs are to be maintained. In slightly disturbed (SD) areas, water quality is to be improved such that WQOs are achieved. In moderately disturbed areas, if water quality meets the WQOs it is to be maintained, or if it does not, quality is to be improved to meet them. In highly disturbed (HD) areas, water quality is to be improved so that it achieves the WQOs.

As EVs and WQOs are defined for Queensland Waters, they are added to Schedule 1 of the EPP(Water). For areas where EVs and WQOs have not yet been defined, a Healthy Waters Management Plan (HWMP) or Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) may be used in local decision making. State information on water quality may be obtained from the Queensland Water Quality Guidelines (QWQG) and national information from the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality (ANZECC). Each of these documents state the importance of defining local guidelines and objectives.

Spatial datasets

Spatial datasets for scheduled areas are available from the Queensland Spatial Catalogue, Qspatial. Search for ‘EPP’.

Related information

Contact details

For further information please contact the Healthy Waters Team:

Last updated
21 December 2017