The capricious nature of our nation’s water resources was evident during 2011–16, with:
record rainfall and record dryness at local, regional and state scales
extended and extensive flooding
national water storage levels varying from above 80 per cent to below 50 per cent
Effectiveness of management
We have significant and expanding knowledge of the relationships between water management actions and ecological condition that are essential for effective management. Much...
At a glanceThe pressures affecting biodiversity remain largely consistent with those identified in the 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011 state of the environment reports.
The most significant current pressures are clearing, fragmentation and declining quality of habitat; invasive species; climate...
At a glanceOnline availability of flow data and water resources information has increased substantially since 2011, including:
various state-based data portals
a national repository with flow and other data for more than 3400 sites
a national set of 222 long-term, high-quality reference...
At a glancePressures on the coastal zone are strongly related to catchment land use and development. In urban areas, the intensity of pressures is generally correlated with human population densities. Australia has continued to increase in population since the 2011 state of the environment...
Pressures facing aquatic ecosystemsChanged hydrologyAltered fire regimesPest species and pathogensPressures from livestock productionUrban developmentPollutionGlobal climate change and climate...
Like the soil that supports it, vegetation is fundamental to ecosystem processes and human survival. Vegetation is vital for:
producing oxygen for animal and human life
maintaining air quality...
2016Australia’s inland waters, both above and below the ground, are of considerable ecological significance. Their significance arises from both their intrinsic ecological values and the contribution they make in providing water to our communities...
Effectiveness of management
The National Water Initiative has set the water policy reform agenda for the past decade, following on from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Water Reform...
Three factors contribute to the risk posed by increasing water abstraction and interception:
the demands of a growing population
increases in per-person water consumption for this population...
At a glanceA challenge in assessing resilience of inland water environments is recognising resilience when it occurs, especially because Australian ecosystems have developed to be both resistant and resilient.
We can contribute to resilience by reducing extreme and detrimental ecosystem...
At a glanceAlthough a changing climate has shaped the Australian landscape and its vegetation, the current rate of climate change is likely to result in changes in the distribution and composition of vegetation communities. Some communities are likely to disappear, and others will be...
State and trends
Water qualityWater quality South East CoastSouth West CoastSouth Australian GulfNorth Western PlateauMurray DarlingNorth East CoastSouth Western PlateauTasmaniaTimor SeaLake Eyre...
Australia State of the Environment 2016 has been prepared by independent experts using the best available information to support assessments of environmental condition, pressures, management effectiveness, resilience, risks and outlook.
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We, the authors, acknowledge the traditional owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community; we pay respect to them and their cultures and to their elders both past and present.