The State Policy on Water Quality Management (1997), also known as the Water Quality Policy, provides a framework for the development of ambient water quality objectives and the management and regulation of point and diffuse sources of emissions to surface waters (including coastal waters) and groundwater.
The Water Quality Policy was made under section 11 of the State Policies and Projects Act 1993 and came into effect in September 1997.
The environmental values to be protected under the Water Quality Policy include:
- protection of aquatic ecosystems;
- recreational water quality and aesthetics;
- raw water for town drinking water supply;
- agricultural water uses; and
- industrial water supply.
The Policy also sets sub-values to these broader values.
Water quality objectives may be set for individual surface water and groundwater bodies by first determining which protected environmental values will apply to each body of water.
Provisions of the Water Quality Policy include:
- purpose and objectives;
- protected environmental values and water quality objectives;
- measures to achieve policy objectives;
- management of point sources of pollution;
- management of diffuse sources of pollution; and
In March 2008 the Premier directed the Minister for Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts to conduct a review of the Water Quality Policy.
Public submissions were sought in response to a Discussion Paper that was released in November 2008 and which provided background information, elaborated on the key issues identified in the course of the Policy’s operation since 1997, and considered options for the Policy’s future.
The submission period closed on 15 December 2008. A Response Paper was released which summarised and responded to the issues raised and provided options for the Policy’s future.
Until any changes are made formally through a statutory revision process, the existing Policy remains in force.
The Water Quality Policy was Tasmania’s response to the National Water Quality Management Strategy. In part it was also a replacement for Tasmania’s Environment Protection (Water Pollution) Regulations 1974, which were rescinded in 2001.
A discussion paper on a proposed State Policy on Water Quality Management was released for public comment in October 1994. A Draft State Policy and Introductory Paper were released for public comment in January 1996. The then Sustainable Development Advisory Council presented a report on the Draft State Policy to the Minister in February 1997. The Water Quality Policy was made and came into effect in September 1997.
Minor amendments were made to the Water Quality Policy in 2002, 2003 and 2004.