Catchment Health Metrics

Catchment Health Metrics

Catchment Health Metrics: Understanding the national use of metrics to monitor catchment health and development of a tool and/or guidance for the water industry to monitor and measure catchment health


Submit a proposal to contribute to healthy, resilient catchments that are essential to protecting source water security and supporting economic activity, ecological integrity, and thriving communities. An effective set of catchment health indicators needs to be representative of the catchment, sensitive to stressors, feasible to monitor and simple to interpret and communicate.


Tailored catchment health metrics for the water industry are closely aligned with the ADWG strategy for adopting a preventative management approach to assuring drinking water quality from catchment to consumer. Catchment health metrics supported by guidance and assessment tools would allow improved management of risks to drinking water quality. 

Furthermore, the catchment health metrics would feed into the four general areas described in the ADWG Framework:

1. Commitment to drinking water quality management – a consistent approach to obtaining data and metrics for analysis would improve catchment management.

2. System analysis and management – better overall understanding of hazards and events.

3. Supporting requirements – consensus on the development of good practice guidance and training.

4. Review – the guidance/tool would incorporate a framework for monitoring and review to ensure continued relevance and accuracy over time and across different contexts.

 The project outputs would also support the twelve elements within the ADWG’s Framework for Management of Drinking Water Quality, and should be aligned with the WSAA application of Health-Based Targets (HBTs), the WaterRA Good Practice Guide to Sanitary Surveys and Operational Monitoring to Support the Assessment and Management of Drinking Water Catchments (WaterRA Project #1109), and the Principles of Source Water Protection Statement developed by the AWA Catchment Management Specialist Network (2021).

 The NHMRC Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water provide a preventative approach for the management of recreational waters and potential hazards that may impact human health. Catchment health metrics would complement these Guidelines by providing a means to identify and promote effective water management interventions and a means of assessing compliance with any regulatory requirements.

While the optimum indicator set will vary between catchments, water utilities have a common need to measure and communicate the holistic catchment health status. This can be achieved by using multi-metric catchment health indices, and by communicating monitoring results in the context of realistic and relevant quality benchmarks. There is a need for clearly defined, statistically robust protocols, across a range of metrics to aggregate a set of monitoring results into a holistic catchment health index, and for guidance to derive quality benchmarks for indicators that are not already covered by existing national guidelines (e.g. ANZECC water quality guidelines).  


To submit a proposal to undertake this piece of work please address the criteria and details listed in the Detailed Proposal Dcoument. 

This document should be supported by completion of (download in attachments below):

RFP Application

Project Plan

Project Budget

WaterRA Contact

Proposals shall be submitted by email to the WaterRA Research Manager no later than

2.00pm Thursday 31 May 2022

Dr Kelly Hill | WaterRA Research Manager

E          []

Amount being sought

Due Date

31st May, 2022