Waterway Health Monitoring Program (WHMP)


Following changes to State Legislation (Section 42 of the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 1997) Council has developed a Stormwater Quality Management Plan (SWQMP) to manage urban stormwater quality in Mackay. Within the SWQMP a number of priority actions have been identified including the development and implementation of the Waterway Health Monitoring Program (WHMP). The WHMP is the governing document for all stormwater quality monitoring as part of the SWQMP. Since 2007, the WHMP has monitored 17 sites for water quality monitoring of major waterways, Reliance Creek, Janes/Gooseponds Creek, Bakers Creek, Pioneer River, Shellgrit Creek and McCready’s Creek. From 2009, 4 additional sites are being monitored for Lagoons which will be reported in future.

Issues and Priorities

The major water quality issues affecting our waterways are excessive levels of sediment and nutrients entering our waterways. The sediments and nutrients come from both point sources and diffuse sources. The solutions to these problems include investments that will reduce our current inputs and minimize the impacts of future developments.  Investments in management in the future will focus on:

  • reducing pollutant loads from both point and diffuse sources;
  • adoption of best practice management for Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), including stormwater management and erosion and sediment control (ESC);
  • protection and conservation of waterways, wetlands and vegetated areas that provide important contributions to waterway health; and
  • understanding the processes that drive algal blooms and implementing measures to reduce their occurrence.

Timing of sampling

The timing of sampling has been designed to minimise the influence of seasonal changes and to minimise the effect of these changes on the water quality results.

  • Ambient sampling is to be on a quarterly basis and will target existing waterways and provide baseline data on a periodic basis. The program will therefore supply an indication of waterway health by signifying the achievement of interim objectives. Overtime, the data will also allow the creation of catchment specific water quality guidelines and identify areas of interest.
  • Event sampling will specifically target stormwater run-off to develop pollutant export relationships for particular catchments and/or land uses. A particular emphasis will be place upon intercepting the first flush in November/December where high levels of contaminants accumulate. This data will be used to calibrate stormwater improvement conceptualisation models, i.e. MUSIC.
  • Sediment sampling is carried out on an annual basis.

Sampling locations

Gooseponds Photo