Hawkesbury-Nepean River Report Card
Water in Ngurra (Country)
The lifeblood of Dharug Ngurra (Country) is water—physically and spiritually it binds together all living things. Caring for Ngurra has sustained generations of Dharug people and is vital to all that now rely on the health of its water. The Hawkesbury-Nepean Waterkeeper Alliance recognises the importance First Nations cultural values of the River and advocates for caring for Ngurra that ensures Country is managed in a holistic and culturally respectful way – now and in the future.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Land on which we work and live as the first people of this country.
Hawkesbury-Nepean Report Card 2022
The Hawkesbury-Nepean River is an ancient, iconic yet degraded waterway skirting the edge of the Sydney Basin. It is a dynamic river system with an active floodplain and home to unique biodiversity and generations of people. The river supports horticultural, manufacturing and processing industries as well as tourism and recreation and faces ongoing challenges resulting from increasing urbanisation and population growth. Major threats include outflows from sewage treatment plants, cleared riparian vegetation and intensive agricultural activity that leads to reduced flows in the catchment, higher water temperatures, elevated nutrient levels, the introduction of 21st century pollutants, reduced function of wetlands and decreasing aquatic biodiversity.
To date the Hawkesbury-Nepean River is the only river in the Sydney Basin that does not have a basic level of public monitoring, reporting and information dissemination. Based on water quality monitoring, data visualisation and citizen science outreach our report card was co-led and designed by the Hawkesbury-Nepean Waterkeeper (HNW) to increase public awareness and connectedness.
Our first ‘River Report Card’ was launched in May 2022 at our second regional Waterkeeper forum. The report card takes a different approach to water monitoring, and combines scientific, social, and cultural data collected by both scientists and citizen scientists between June 2021 – March 2022.
Our report card highlights a number of broad river health indicators and demonstrates visually how local people connect on a daily basis with the river:
- Species of the river
- 21st century pollutants
- Swimability (through visibility and bacteria)
- Riparian health
This report card was co-funded by Western Sydney University, Greater Sydney Landcare’s Streamwatch and LandcareNSW, and a Sydney Water Community Grant. We would like to acknowledge and thank all of our contributors and volunteers for their input, and our student interns Phillippa Morgan (Communication Arts), Hadi Chamtie (Data Science) and Bree Webb (Science).
Disclaimer: This report card contains data generated mostly by citizen scientists and Western Sydney University students. Although the data has been screened, there are no warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness. The data presented is voluntary and true of the time it was collected. The data collected represents post-flood conditions (2021 March) and was taken pre- and post-COVID lockdown.