What problems does water pollution and runoff cause?
When sediment and excess nutrients are washed off lands and into Reef waters, they can cause harmful algal blooms, reduce the amount of light available to seagrasses and smother marine ecosystems.
These ecosystems are critical habitats for threatened dugongs, turtles and juvenile fish.
While climate change remains the biggest threat to our Great Barrier Reef, cleaning up the water that flows from the land reduces further pressure and helps our Great Barrier Reef to restore its health.
How water pollution enters our waterways and reaches the Reef
Water pollution is an entirely preventable problem. The solution to it is to start making changes on our land before it ends up in our waterways.
Climate change requires an international effort and cooperation (of which Australia and QLD should play its part!) Tackling water pollution in runoff that’s entering our Reef, on the other hand, is entirely in QLD’s control. Meaning, we have the power to fix this easily and quickly.
After decades of incentives for voluntary management practices, water quality of our inshore Reef has not improved¹.
In 2019, the QLD government passed a historic bill designed to improve the quality of the water that flows from farming and grazing properties in northern Queensland into our Reef.
The Federal government also announced a $30mil package for on-ground projects to address pollution from land-based run-off entering our Reef. See our response to this announcement here.
So meeting sensible fertilizer use requirements and minimum practice standards for agriculture on land, as well as, restoring cleared land, waterways and coastlines with vegetation, are some of many solutions that will reduce water pollution from reaching our Great Barrier Reef.