Alice Blackwood, Council’s Aquatic Systems Officer testing water quality at Leura Cascades.

Annual report reveals impact of bush fires and floods on our waterways

06 Aug 2020

Each year, Blue Mountains City Council releases its Waterways Health Snapshot, a report on the ecological health of our waterways.

The data is compiled from over 50 monitoring sites, which are located throughout the Blue Mountains in areas ranging from Lapstone to Mount Wilson. 

Since the summer bush fires, Blue Mountains City Council has been closely monitoring fire-affected waterways because bush fires can seriously affect water quality by washing ash and soil into waterways.

Fortunately, this year’s Waterways Health Snapshot, has revealed that Blue Mountains creeks appear to be quite resilient. In fact, results so far show that the impacts on waterways aren’t as bad as seen elsewhere in NSW.  

However, in contrast, the February floods hit some of our waterways hard, with urban stormwater run off remaining one of the key ongoing, threats to the health of our waterways.

Another threat to the condition of our waterways are sewage overflows which frequently seep into our creeks and contaminate the water. Research shows that 75% of sewage blockages involve flushed household wet wipes, which should never be flushed down toilets. 

Other findings in the report are that 20% of our waterways are in excellent health, with 31% being in good condition, whereas 42% are in fair health and 7% are in poor health.

Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “As we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of being a City within a World Heritage Area, ensuring the long term health and sustainability of our precious waterways has never been more important.”

“With Council overseeing one of the most extensive and long-running stream monitoring programs of its kind, reports like the Waterways Health Snapshot play a critical role in alerting us to the impacts of extreme weather events on water-dependent ecosystems and water quality.”

Aside from monitoring waterways, Council is also currently rehabilitating over 130 creek and bushland sites across the city — by repairing stormwater impacts such as weed infestation, erosion and sedimentation. 

To learn more about Council’s Waterways conservation projects visit:

Download the Waterways Health Snapshot
Photo: Alice Blackwood, Council’s Aquatic Systems Officer testing water quality at Leura Cascades.

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