In this chapter, we paint a national picture of state, trend and outlook for the inland water environment. This is not intended as a substitute for state and territory statements on this environment, nor for local assessments. There are, however, no national databases for most water-related environmental data, nor a consistent, synchronised set of assessments with national coverage. A national-scale picture must be built in parts, based on uneven availability of data and uneven syntheses of information at the state/territory and local scales, at least until the Bureau of Meteorology completes its mission to bring together all water and water-related data across Australia.
This synthesis directly draws on primary data where available, as well as some key assessments, such as state, territory and regional SoE reports, catchment condition reports and strategies; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Sustainable Yields assessments, 2007–09;5 the Sustainable Rivers Audit for the Murray–Darling Basin, 2008;6 and national-scale assessments of water resources and management by the National Water Commission.