State and trends of inland water flows and levels

Component
Summary
Grade
Very poor Poor Good Very good
Confidence
In Grade In Trend
Comparability
To previous years

Carpentaria Coast

This assessment summary component has changed from 2011.

  • The Gulf of Carpentaria division was renamed the Carpentaria Coast division.

The original 2011 summary, grade, trend and confidence levels have been replicated here to assist comparison of changes between reporting cycles.

 
 
 

Largely median streamflows across the region, reflecting recent variability in climate pressures.

No significant trends in flows evident since 2011.

Year(s): 
2016
4
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Somewhat adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Somewhat adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Very low levels of development, leaving flow regimes largely intact; information quite sparse

Year(s): 
2011
4
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Limited
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Streamflow gauging indicates below-average flows in recent years.

No significant trends in flows evident since 2011.

Year(s): 
2016
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Limited
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Little monitoring data available, but low levels of development of surface and superficial aquifer water resources; natural flow regimes largely intact; progress on recovering pressures in the underlying Great Artesian Basin

Year(s): 
2011
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Limited
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Predominance of below average annual flows during recent years, with monthly flows around average early in 2016

Longer term downwards trends in flows seen at nearly 50% of stations, with no change in trends evident since 2011

Year(s): 
2016
2
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

High level of development of both groundwater and surface water systems, apart from Paroo and Warrego rivers; drought-breaking floods and recovery of entitlements for the environment are positive

Year(s): 
2011
2
Improving
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

State and trends of flows showing no evidence of significant changes since 2011

Year(s): 
2016
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Low level of development in north; higher levels of development in central and south-east, with associated changes in flow regimes

Year(s): 
2011
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Low data availability, with no discernible significant change in state or trends

Year(s): 
2016
4
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Very limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Very limited
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Very low level of development, with mostly local self-supply abstraction or mine de-watering; very little (and sparse) data

Year(s): 
2011
4
Unclear
Confidence (in grade): 
Limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Low
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Pilbara-Gascoyne

This assessment summary component has changed from 2011.

  • The Indian Ocean division was renamed the Pilbara–Gascoyne division.

The original 2011 summary, grade, trend and confidence levels have been replicated here to assist comparison of changes between reporting cycles.

 
 
 

Low data availability, with no discernible significant change in state or trends

Year(s): 
2016
4
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Very limited
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Low levels of development, with mostly local self-supply abstraction or mine de-watering (extraction of water from underground mines); limited and sparse data

Year(s): 
2011
4
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Limited
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Observations largely focused on a small part of the region, dominated by below-average flows in recent years

Year(s): 
2016
2
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Limited
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Flow regimes and groundwater levels strongly affected by high levels of development and flow regulation

Year(s): 
2011
2
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

South-east Coast (NSW)

This assessment summary component has changed from 2011.

  • The South East Coast division was divided into 2 divisions: South East Coast (New South Wales), covering catchments north from Towamba River, and South East Coast (Victoria), covering catchments west from the East Gippsland river region.

The original 2011 summary, grade, trend and confidence levels have been replicated here to assist comparison of changes between reporting cycles.
 

 
 
 

A range of below average to above average monthly streamflows across the division in recent years, with many sites showing a decreasing trend in annual medium flows

Year(s): 
2016
2
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

High levels of development in areas serving Sydney and Melbourne, and in areas east of Melbourne; less change in flow regime due to development in East Gippsland and north New South Wales coast

Year(s): 
2011
2
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

South-east Coast (Victoria)

This assessment summary component has changed from 2011.

  • The South East Coast division was divided into 2 divisions: South East Coast (New South Wales), covering catchments north from Towamba River, and South East Coast (Victoria), covering catchments west from the East Gippsland river region.

The original 2011 summary, grade, trend and confidence levels have been replicated here to assist comparison of changes between reporting cycles.

 
 
 

A range of annual flows from very much below average to above average in recent years, dominated by below average to average.

Nearly half the reported sites showing weakly to strongly falling trends.

Year(s): 
2016
2
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

High levels of development in areas serving Sydney and Melbourne, and in areas east of Melbourne; less change in flow regime due to development in East Gippsland and north New South Wales coast

Year(s): 
2011
2
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Mostly average to below-average annual flows, with some very much below average. Reference sites dominated by negative annual flow anomalies. Trends largely weakly to strongly falling

Year(s): 
2016
2
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Flow regimes greatly affected by high level of development and river regulation, and prolonged drought (changed climate); highly developed groundwater systems have widely lowered watertables beyond the reach of many dependent ecosystems on Swan Coastal Plain

Year(s): 
2011
2
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Low data availability

Year(s): 
2016
4
Unclear
Confidence (in grade): 
Low
Confidence (in trend): 
Low
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Very low level of water resource development, with mostly local self-supply abstraction or mine de-watering; very little data

Year(s): 
2011
4
Unclear
Confidence (in grade): 
Limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Low
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

Tanami-Timor Sea Coast

This assessment summary component has changed from 2011.

  • The Timor Sea division was renamed the Tanami–Timor Sea Coast division.

The original 2011 summary, grade, trend and confidence levels have been replicated here to assist comparison of changes between reporting cycles.

 
 
 

Mostly above-average flows in recent years, with some strongly significant rising trends, offset by recent lower flows

Year(s): 
2016
3
Improving
Confidence (in grade): 
Limited
Confidence (in trend): 
Limited
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Apart from Ord River and Darwin water supply, very low levels of development, leaving flow regimes largely unchanged

Year(s): 
2011
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Limited
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

A mix of above average and below average annual flows to 2013, transitioning to average to very much below average. Flows recently trending down

Year(s): 
2016
3
Deteriorating
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Somewhat comparable

Low level of development relative to water availability; flow regimes changed by regulation of flows associated with hydro-electricity generation in places

Year(s): 
2011
3
Stable
Confidence (in grade): 
Adequate
Confidence (in trend): 
Adequate
Comparability (to previous reports): 
Not assessed

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Argent RM (2016). Inland water: State and trends of inland water flows and levels. In: Australia state of the environment 2016, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra, https://soe.environment.gov.au/assessment-summary/inland-waters/state-and-trends-inland-water-flows-and-levels, DOI 10.4226/94/58b656cfc28d1