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SA Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2003

The Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2003 (Water Quality Policy) is a policy that safeguards South Australian water resources from pollution. For a long period, the discrepancies surrounding the South Australian laws protecting the State’s water resources from pollution, have lowered the environmental value of all water resources in South Australia. This implies that all the water resources in South Australia were at the risk of being degraded, subsequently increasing the likelihood of undesirable impacts on the economy, community, and the environment. With all these impending risks, the Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2003 needed to be enacted to addresses the risks and brings South Australia in harmony with the National Water Quality Management Strategy (Australia, S. (2003).

The primary guiding principle for the Water Quality Policy is to attain sustainable water resources management in South Australia by safeguarding water quality while enhancing economic and social development.

The policy aims to achieve this by:

• Putting in place environmental principles and water quality guidelines for all water resources in South Australian. The protected values include the aquatic ecosystem, drinking water, recreation and aesthetics, agriculture and aquaculture, and industry.

• Establishing responsibilities for industry and the community to prevent and manage all various forms of water pollution.

• Advocating better use of wastewater. Some of the strategies being proposed to promote better use of wastewaters include; preventing the production of wastewater, eradicating or decreasing wastewater, recycling and reusing wastewater, and wastewater treatment to lessen potential harm to the environment, and proper disposal of waste in an ecologically sound fashion.

• Using Codes of Practice that describe best practice environmental management for particular activities and which can be enforced using Environment Protection Orders.

• Supporting environmental responsibility and involvement in environmental matters within the community.

2. What are the benefits of the SA Environmental Protection Water Quality 2003 policy?

 Some of the key benefits of the SA Environmental Protection Water Quality 2003 policy are;

• The policy will help improve the environmental quality of aquatic ecosystems resulting from the control and management of point and diffuse source discharges.

• The policy will offer constructive changes in the way the water resources are regarded by the community and resource managers.

• The policy will deliver better opportunities for recreation, tourism, aquaculture, agriculture and industry.

• The policy will help lower the costs linked to restoring degraded aquatic ecosystems.

• Advance the general wellbeing of the community.

• Improve the visual value of the State’s water resources

• Provide an improvement in the number and diversity of native plants and animals that live in and near our rivers and oceans.

• The policy will promote the general protection of aquatic resources.

3. What factors are used to measure water quality in South Australia?

Water quality can be defined as the water condition that determines its suitability for particular uses such as drinking or swimming.

The factors which influence water quality in South Australia include

• Biological factors e.g. presence of bacteria

• Physical factors e.g. temperature, turbidity, and salinity

• Chemical factors e.g. pH, and dissolved oxygen.

• Aesthetic factors e.g. odor, and taints.

For more information on SA Environmental Protection Water Quality policy, you can use the fantastic resource available on the environmental standards page of the website to search and use environmental standards and guidelines. Environmental Standards are available for air, water and soil for the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Holland and from the World Health Organization.


Australia, S. (2003). Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2003. Environment Protection Authority, Government of South Australia. Retrieved from