New investigation into state of ACT lakes and waterways


The ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment will undertake an investigation into the state of lakes and waterways in the ACT, which will provide valuable recommendations to the ACT Government on how to protect and restore the health of Canberra’s waterways.

Minister for Water Shane Rattenbury said the most recent investigation into the quality of Canberra’s waterways was conducted in 2012 so an updated report was needed.

“It is timely to re-assess waterway health, as the information and recommendations will help to identify priority locations for attention as we work to improve water quality and catchment health,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“Our lakes and waterways have high ecological value and are an important part of life in Canberra. We want to know whether our current approach is effectively protecting and restoring Canberra’s lakes and waterways, and if there are any gaps or issues that need be addressed.

“We also want to know more about the role of community and stakeholders in managing water quality and ecological health, and how we can better support and encourage their participation.”

The investigation will include Lake Burley Griffin, Lake Ginninderra and Lake Tuggeranong, as well as creeks and rivers that flow through the urban area and into the Murrumbidgee River, including urban ponds, wetlands and the Molonglo River.

The ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment’s report will evaluate and provide recommendations on:

  • the condition of Canberra’s main lakes and waterways;
  • the effectiveness of key Government management actions and strategies to protect these waterways;
  • the Government’s monitoring, evaluation and reporting processes, and;
  • the role of community and stakeholders can play in managing water quality and ecological health.

Minister for the Environment Rebecca Vassarotti said it is important that the ACT Government continues to re-assess the health of Canberra's waterways and identify priority locations for attention. 

“Today Minister Rattenbury and I took an extensive tour of our major lakes and rivers throughout the region, as we heard more about the important work of the Healthy Waterways program,” Minister Vassarotti said.

“While Canberra has beautiful waterways throughout the territory, the ACT Government is always working towards improving water quality and catchment health.  

“Initiating this inquiry will implement a key recommendation in the ACT State of the Environment Report 2019, which called for a reporting initiative into the state of the Canberra’s lakes. I look forward to see the Commissioner’s report in early 2022.”

The ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Sophie Lewis, said she was pleased to commence an investigation into the state of Canberra’s urban lakes and waterways.

“The last report is nearly 10 years old and now is the time to re-assess how our waterways are being monitored and managed, and to look for areas where we can improve,” Dr Lewis said.

“Our lakes and waterways are much loved by Canberrans and so important for recreation, flood mitigation and biodiversity. We look forward to the opportunity to identify future challenges to our waterways from urban development and climate change.”

You can find more information about the ACT Government’s Healthy Waterways program on the ACT Environment website.