Urban Stewardship

How well are we managing urban water quality?

A new stewardship framework has been developed in 2019-20 with the Queensland Government to assess the performance of urban water managment activities across all reef catchments and this year it has been applied to the Wet Tropics covering all eight local government areas.

The goal of this new framework is to assess performance in urban water management practices and identify where management activities are working well and where they can be improved.

Stewardship of urban water is demonstrated through investment in technology or practices that meet or exceed standards for minimising or avoiding environmental harm.

The performance of each of the eight local government areas in managing activities undertaken by councils, developers and contractors was assessed via a series of facilitated workshops.

Each local government area was assessed on 66 management activities across the three main components: Developing Urban (such as construction sites), Established Urban (such as residential or industrial zones) and Point Sources (such as wastewater treatment plants).

Performance in the management activities for each component was summarised in four common elements as shown in the report card coaster below.


Overall, urban water management for the Wet Tropics was graded C, representing a moderate risk to water quality in the region.

The management of water quality during construction and as part of sewage treatment is generally being done well in the Wet Tropics but there is more room for improvement in urban water management in established urban areas.

The full methods and results for the 2020 assessment are provided in the Urban Water Stewardship Framework Report.

urban footprint