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Water pollution and water quality

Chemicals, litter and waste in our waterways and oceans can have serious impacts on human health, drinking water quality and the environment.

Water pollution

Learn about the causes and sources of water pollution and what you can do to help stop water pollution to look after the health of our waterways and oceans.

Management to protect drinking water quality

WaterNSW is a State-Owned Corporation established under the Water NSW Act 2014.

  • They operate the state’s rivers and water supply systems in accordance with the rules set out by regulators.
  • With more than 40 dams across the state, they supply two-thirds of water used in NSW to regional towns, irrigators, Sydney Water Corporation and local water utilities.
  • They also own and operate the largest surface and groundwater monitoring network in the southern hemisphere and build, maintain and operate essential infrastructure.

WaterNSW takes a multi-barrier approach to manage water quality which means water quality is tested and monitored at multiple points of the water collection, storage and delivery process.

Improving water quality for healthy waterways

Our water resources are of major environmental, social, health and economic value. 

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment helps protect the health of our waterways by supporting water quality managers to improve water quality.

The tools, resources and information they provide for water quality managers include:

  • water quality and river flow objectives 
  • monitoring programs
  • support for local councils and decision-makers to manage water quality.

Related information

Beach water quality

How we monitor and report on beach water quality and how you can help stop beach water pollution.

Drinking water quality

Protecting drinking water and issues that may affect drinking water quality.
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