The Water Quality Australia website is a product of the National Water Quality Management Strategy (NWQMS), an Australian Government initiative in partnership with state and territory governments.

Content on this website is designed to help water managers, industry and state, territory and local governments plan and implement strategies for managing water quality. The tools and resources provided on this website are also useful for research, reference and public education purposes.

You should first check with relevant local authorities in your jurisdiction for legislative and guideline information on water quality.

National Water Quality Management Strategy

The purpose of the NWQMS is to protect the nation’s water resources by maintaining and improving water quality, while supporting dependent aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, agricultural and urban communities, and industry.

Channels for delivery of the NWQMS:

  • Policy that enables effective water quality management for the delivery of fit for purpose water that supports community values.
  • Process (framework) for the development and implementation of management plans. These plans focus on the reduction of pollution released into coastal pollution hotspots and other aquatic ecosystems.
  • Guidelines that are developed using best available scientific evidence, providing benchmarks and targets for managing water quality across a range of risk profiles and uses.

The delivery framework for the strategy is detailed in ​the National Water Quality Management Strategy Charter.

Guideline management

The guidelines, process and strategy materials developed and maintained under the NWQMS form an important part of delivering on the strategy’s purpose.​

Guideline management is governed by:


Oversight of the NWQMS is managed through a series of committees and working groups, responsible for different levels of governance of the strategy, its projects and goals.

Ongoing management of the NWQMS is the responsibility of the:

  • National Water Reform Committee (NWRC) — The National Water Reform Committee is an interjurisdictional committee that considers and progresses national water reforms of the national water initiative (NWI) and other national agreements. The work of the NWRC promotes sustainable water use across Australia to enhance social, human health, economic and environmental outcomes for current and future generations, and support sustainable water management through interjurisdictional development, oversight, coordination and implementation of water reform policy.
  • Water Quality Policy Sub Committee (WQPSC) — The Water Quality Policy Sub Committee advises the National Water Reform Committee and is established to provide oversight of and implement the agreed strategic directions for the National Water Quality Management Strategy.
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