Australian and international research consistently shows that improved catchment management is the best means of achieving cost effective water treatment.
The open nature of the drinking water supply catchments in South East Queensland and the fact that only a small percentage of the catchement is owned by Seqwater means that implementation of control measures to protect and improve water quality requires a partnership approach.
Seqwater seeks to show leadership in catchment management and works collaboratively with a range of agencies, partners and landholders.
The development and implementation of the Seqwater water source protection plan is an important step that ensures coordinated action. This plan incorporates a comprehensive catchment description, identification of major risks and key responses.
Community education to develop awareness of water catchment risks is also a key component of the plan.
In recent years more than 8,000 hectares of land owned by Seqwater has been declared as a permanent nature refuge. Seqwater (and the previous SEQWater Corporation) has invested heavily in conjunction with SEQ Catchments and the former Department of Natural Resources and Water in regional landscape restoration programs such as the D'Aguilar Range Biodiversity Corridor.
Seqwater catchments also provide the habitat for numerous threatened species such as the glossy black cockatoo, spotted quoll, and koala.
Seqwater provides support for leaseholders to develop farm plans, which are designed to boost farm business productivity returns in ways which improve long-term sustainability and water quality. At the end of 2008/09, 90 farm plans had been developed with 70 either partially or fully implemented. A total of 80% of leased land around Seqwater's dams is now subject to farm plans.
New business opportunities in terms of carbon offsetting and farm forestry are likely to provide an increased financial incentive for programs that deliver both environment and water quality outcomes for our storages.