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Where are Adelaide's coastal waters?
The Adelaide coastal waters include the Port waterways and metropolitan beaches, and extend from Sellicks Beach in the south to Port Gawler in the north. They include the waters approximately 20 km offshore. Adelaide’s coastal waters are part of the waters of Gulf St Vincent and include areas of seagrass and reef environments supporting important feeding grounds and nurseries for fish, crustaceans, molluscs and marine mammals. Maintaining good water quality is essential for the maintenance of these marine habitats and important for industry and the recreational uses of Adelaide's coastal waters and metropolitan beaches.
What are the problems facing the Adelaide coastal waters?
Historically the area of the Port River and the broader area of Adelaide’s coastal waters have been impacted by poor water quality from discharges from industry, wastewater and stormwater. The EPA has previously studied and monitored water quality in this area quite extensively.
The EPA established the Adelaide Coastal Waters Study (ACWS) in 2001 in response to concerns about the decline in coastal water quality and loss of more than 5,000 hectares of seagrass. The (ACWS) found that discharges into Adelaide’s coastal waters from wastewater treatment plants, industry and stormwater outlets are high in nutrients and suspended solids and are causing loss of seagrass along the Adelaide coastline. Excess nutrients cause algal blooms and epiphyte growth on seagrass leading to loss of seagrass. Discharges of high levels of suspended solids into the Adelaide coastal waters increase turbidity levels contributing to challenges for re-establishing seagrass, poor recreational water quality and may result in beach closures at times after rain events. Loss of seagrass has implications in terms of sediment instability for the management of Adelaide’s beaches and loss of seagrass results in more carbon released into the atmosphere. The carbon storage value of seagrass beds is greater than equivalent sized terrestrial based carbon stored in areas such as rainforest or woodland.
What is being done to improve water quality in the Adelaide coastal waters?
In order to further the recommendations from the ACWS and provide a long-term strategy to achieve and sustain water quality consistent with community expectations for Adelaide’s coastal waters the Adelaide Coastal Water Quality Improvement Plan (ACWQIP) (5.9 MB PDF) has been developed.
The EPA sought comment from Adelaide’s broader community on the vision and environmental values (EVs) contained within the draft ACWQIP in spring 2011. The EPA received 105 comments from individual community members, community groups and government agencies. Many of these comments centred around clarifying information on activities being undertaken by key stakeholders in support of the implementation of the plan. Overall the comments were supportive of the vision, EVs and strategies (94.6 KB PDF) in the ACWQIP. The attached tables (51.6 KB PDF) includes a summary of the range of comments and indicates information on how some of the comments are being addressed in finalising the ACWQIP and in planning for the implementation of the ACWQIP.
This ACWQIP includes a variety of strategies (94.6 KB PDF) and actions aimed at reducing discharges of nutrients and suspended solids to Adelaide’s coastal waters while addressing the 14 recommendations of the ACWS. The ACWQIP brings together the understanding provided by the ACWS with input provided by the Adelaide community to establish EVs – those features of the coast that are of importance to the community; and water quality objectives (WQOs) – measurable targets that protect water quality for Adelaide’s coastal waters.
The ACWQIP has been developed in partnership with relevant government agencies, business and industry. A summary Overview (786.5 KB PDF) of the ACWQIP has been provided for your information.
Now that the period for public comment has concluded, feedback is being responded to and the document will be finalised in 2013. Implementation of some of the ACWQIP strategies has commenced and other strategies will be implemented once the ACWQIP has been finalised.
Water quality monitoring
The EPA's Water Quality Monitoring Program has previously involved monitoring water quality in the Port waterways and along metropolitan beaches, but now is focussed on ecosystem condition monitoring of seagrass and reef habitats in Gulf St Vincent. This condition assessment monitoring can still provide a good indication of what is happening for Adelaide’s coastal waters in terms of water quality and condition of segrass and reef areas along the Adelaide coastline.
- Adelaide Coastal Water Quality Improvement Plan (5.9 MB PDF) (ACWQIP)
ACWQIP supporting documents
The development of the draft ACWQIP included collation of considerable background information provided as separate consultant reports and statements. These are listed below as reports 1 to 8. Some of this information has undergone minor editing to remove names or other information to protect privacy. Most of the work for these reports was undertaken between 2006 and 2008, and as such, some of the content is not necessarily current for and does not reflect the views of the South Australian Government or current government policy.
- Report 1: Community consultation executive summaries (151.7 KB PDF)
- Report 2: Draft water quality objectives (121.3 KB PDF)
- Report 3: Sample of programs and activities relevant to water quality improvement for Adelaide's coastal waters (360 KB PDF)
- Report 4: Modelling the catchments of Adelaide's coastal waters (3.3 MB PDF)
- Report 5: Adelaide Coastal Water Quality Improvement Plan Monitoring and Assessment Framework (3.7 MB PDF)
- Report 6: Understanding the possible impacts of climate change and population growth by the year 2030 on nearshore water quality of metropolitan Adelaide (1.4 MB PDF)
- Report 7: Statutory capacity to implement the Adelaide Coastal Water Quality Improvement Plan (70.4 KB PDF)
- Report 8: Reasonable assurance statement for the Adelaide Coastal Water Quality Improvement Plan (39.5 KB PDF)
- Adelaide Coastal Waters Study (ACWS)
- Gulf St Vincent metropolitan bathing waters - Report No 1 (731.4 KB PDF)
- Gulf St Vincent metropolitan coastal waters - Report No 2 (1.9 MB PDF)
- Protecting Gulf St Vincent (3.2 MB PDF)
- Water quality of Adelaide's metropolitan coastal waters - community summary (635.6 KB PDF)
- Changes in seagrass coverage (974.5 KB PDF)
- The health of subtidal reefs (885 KB PDF)
- Port River Water Quality Report No. 1 (311.1 KB PDF)
- Port River Water Quality Report No. 2 (2.8 MB PDF)
- Port River Sediment Quality Report (983.4 KB PDF)
- Port River: heavy metals and PCBs in dolphins, fish and sediment (472.6 KB PDF)
Adelaide coastal waters information sheets
Following the completion of the ACWS, information sheets on Adelaide’s coastal waters and some of the findings of the study are now available.
The first 8 Information Sheets in this series are:
- Importance of seagrass (267.5 KB PDF)
- Seagrass health (209.8 KB PDF)
- Changes in urban environments (759 KB PDF)
- Physical processes (360.4 KB PDF)
- Inputs to coastal waters (273.3 KB PDF)
- What can households do? (346.3 KB PDF)
- Strategies for water quality improvement for Adelaide's coastal waters (94.6 KB PDF)
- Community vision and environmental values for Adelaide's coastal waters (155.5 KB PDF).
- Adelaide Coastal Waters Study
- CSIRO www.csiro.gov.au
- Coast & Marine Branch of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources www.environment.sa.gov.au/Conservation/Coastal_Marine
- Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board www.amlrnrm.sa.gov.au
- Water for Good www.waterforgood.sa.gov.au
- WaterConnect www.waterconnect.sa.gov.au
- Port River Water Quality Improvement Plan (996.9 KB PDF)
- City of Onkaparinga www.onkaparinga.sa.gov.au
- City of Marion www.marion.sa.gov.au
- City of Holdfast Bay www.holdfast.sa.gov.au
- City of West Torrens www.wtcc.sa.gov.au
- City of Charles Sturt www.charlessturt.sa.gov.au
- City of Port Adelaide Enfield www.portenf.sa.gov.au
- City of Salisbury www.salisbury.sa.gov.au
- City of Playford www.playford.sa.gov.au
- District Council of Malalla www.mallala.sa.gov.au
- Water Sensitive SA www.watersensitivesa.com
For further information please contact:
Environment Protection Authority, GPO Box 2607, Adelaide SA 5001
Telephone: (08) 8204 2004, Facsimile: (08) 8124 4670, Freecall (country): 1800 623 445, and email.
Last modified: 11/01/2013 02:14 pm