What is the Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters?

 The Partnership brings together partners in science, industry, education, tourism, fishers, traditional owners, government and the community. The Partnership reports on the status of our region's natural biodiversity and water quality and the benefits our waterways and Reef provides.  Through this report we seek to improve outcomes for our region.  

The Queensland and Australian Governments have committed funding to establish the Partnership and assist with the development of annual regional Report Cards. The individual Partner organisations also provide funding assistance and, or in kind support. 

The Partnership is independently chaired, and supported by a management committee and two staff that oversee day-to-day operations. 

What is the Dry Tropics?

The term “dry tropics” refers to the low average rainfall range of 500 to 1000mm per year which often occurs in short time frames. 

Why do we need to know about the health of our waterways and catchment?

 Townsville, Magnetic Island and Palm Island are situated in the dry tropics region of Queensland and represent the largest urban centre adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef.  Our community has strong and enduring connections to the water and relies on the numerous freshwater and estuarine systems, and Cleveland Bay, for its world-class experiences in fishing, diving, boating and swimming.  It is also an internationally renowned hub for marine and coral reef science, research and investment, and home to the largest general cargo port in Northern Australia.

Working together, we will share data to understand the benefits that our waterways provide and the effect we have on them.  This information will help us track improvements over time and help decision makers target expenditure where it is needed most.

What area does the Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters cover?

 The Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters reporting area covers a land area of about 134,000km2 and 12,000km2 of sea area.  It includes the greater Townsville area and extends north to Crystal Creek and south to Crocodile Creek (near Cape Cleveland).  The sea area includes Cleveland Bay, Magnetic Island and the Palm Island Group.


When will the first Report Card be available?

 The Report Card is due to be launched on the 24th of May 2019 and will be updated annually. 

What sort of information will be available in the Report Card?

 The Report Card will provide scores on the health of our waterways, giving our community an easier way to understand the overall water health story. 

Over time, the Report Card will identify long-term trends and inform the community on actions that will help the Townsville region maintain or improve our scores.

What sort of scoring or rating system will be used?

 The 2017-18 pilot Report Card will grade waterway health in an A-to-E format, similar to a school report.  

Scoring will be based on information about the ecological, social and economic factors affecting the waterways and Reef in the Townsville region. 

Do report cards work?

 The Report Card model has already been successfully rolled out in other regions along the Great Barrier Reef and in South East Queensland.  They are a means of delivering complex information to a broad audience and effectively apply science to decision-making and target investment and expenditure where it is needed most. 

Are there any indicators so far on the health of waterways and catchments around Townsville?

 Not as yet.  Compilation of the data is a careful and considered process and results can't be pre-empted until the Report Card is complete.  

Where do you get your data from and how do you know it's accurate?

 Our data is sourced from our project partners and includes industry and community data, ports monitoring and existing government-funded monitoring at all levels. It's accuracy is verified by the Reef Independent Science Panel.


How long will the Partnership run for?

 We’d like to think forever, but continuity will be based on future funding and the support of our Partners. 

What can I do in the community to help protect our waterways?

 Subscribe to our newsletter to receive information on upcoming events, and our Report Card releases.  

The newsletter will provide you with information on actions planned or currently underway in our local waterways, and what you can do to help.

There are many individuals and community groups dedicating their time to the protection and improvement of our waterways through activities such as tree plantings and picking up litter.  Community members who would like to get involved in protecting their local waterways can take part in waterway health initiatives through their local community or catchment group. 

How will the Report Card be of benefit to Townsville?

 The Reef, our waterways, rivers, estuaries and wetlands play a central role in many aspects of daily life in North Queensland.  They underpin many complex ecosystems and are important for Townsville’s productivity and liveability.  

One source of information is crucial to guide future decision-making on the health of our waterways and marine environment in a balanced way.  The Report Card will communicate the condition of our waterways and the benefits they provide.  This is crucial in order to understand where more effort is required, and if waterway health is improving as a result of management actions and investment.