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Catchment loads

Modelling program

The Great Barrier Reef Catchment Loads Modelling Program estimates average annual loads of key pollutants (sediment, nutrients and pesticides) for each of the 35 catchments draining to the Great Barrier Reef as part of the Paddock to Reef program. It reports on baseline levels and the change in loads for each subsequent year due to adoption of improved land management practices. This assesses progress towards the Reef Plan water quality targets.

Summary of catchment pollutant loads results from the Report Card 2012 and 2013.

Technical reports have been produced covering 2009-2013.

Monitoring program

The Great Barrier Reef Catchment Loads Monitoring Program tracks long-term trends in water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon from priority catchments as part of the Paddock to Reef program. The monitoring data is used to validate the catchment water quality models that track progress towards the Reef Plan targets.

This involves monitoring 25 sites in 14 key catchments for sediment and nutrients and 15 sites in these same catchments for pesticides. Samples are collected on a monthly basis during ambient (low flow, dry season) conditions and every few hours to daily during high flow events in the wet season.

The concentrations of contaminants are determined and the volume of water flowing in the rivers is then used to determine the total amount of each contaminant (i.e. the load) that flows past the sampling sites.

The loads for all measured contaminants are released in an annual technical report:

Last updated:
20 October, 2016

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