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

The Environmental Protection (Water and Wetland Biodiversity) Policy 2019 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, 398.7KB) 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 and Wetland Biodiversity) for HWMPs, they may be accredited as HWMPs.

Healthy waters management plans

The department is working with regional partners throughout Queensland to prepare (or update) HWMPs and WQIPs that meet requirements under the Environmental Protection (Water and Wetland Biodiversity) Policy 2019.

Murray-Darling Basin

HWMPs have been prepared by the department in consultation with the regional body for the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin. In addition to meeting requirements under the Environmental Protection (Water and Wetland Biodiversity) Policy 2019, the HWMPs have also been prepared to meet requirements of a Water Quality Management Plan (WQM Plan) under the Basin Plan 2012. The HWMPs/WQM Plans apply to the surface waters (including lakes and wetlands) and groundwaters across the following river basins:

Water quality improvement plans

Great Barrier Reef catchments

Water quality improvement plans (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. The department worked with water quality improvement plan project teams to ensure that the environmental values (EVs) and water quality objectives (WQOs) were established consistent with the (then) Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009 requirements. Links to the latest WQIPs and supporting information are provided below.

As part of the initial round of water quality improvement plans, consultant Marsden Jacob Associates (MJA) was engaged to identify the economic and social implications of protecting the environmental values of the region covered by separate water quality improvement plans. The report, The economic and social impacts of protecting the environmental values of the Great Barrier Reef (PDF, 3.4MB) , is available for downloading.

South East Queensland catchments

Further information about projects to improve the health of the catchments and rivers of South East Queensland is available at Healthy Land and Water.