Population Growth

South East Queensland is the fastest-growing region in Australia with the population heading towards eight million by 2044*. The increased demand for water supply, infrastructure, recreation and tourism places greater pressures on our waterways.


Clearing vegetation in urban areas to meet the increased demand for major infrastructure like roads and housing introduces impervious or hard surfaces such as roads and roofs to a catchment area. During heavy rainfall, stormwater travelling in high volume increases the risk of erosion, and carries a range of pollutants (sediments and nutrients) into our creeks and rivers.

When stormwater delivers sediment, nutrients and litter into our waterways, this is known as urban diffuse pollution. Recent population growth has seen large areas of rural land converted to urban land use for roads, housing and other infrastructure. Unless land management and development control practices are improved, these additional urban areas will increase the diffuse source pollutant loads entering our waterways.


In rural areas, the deterioration of creek banks and gullies needs to be reversed to safeguard aquatic ecosystems, water supply, recreation and food production capacities of the catchment.

* Queensland Plan: 30-year vision.

Did you know?

  • Brisbane's land area is twice the size of Singapore.
  • Three quarters of Queensland’s population lives in South East Queensland
  • Our population is expected to grow to over 4 million by 2031

Healthy Waterways Action

Healthy Waterways assists the land development industry and government to design urban environments that support healthy ecosystems. We are working with our members in a range of priority management areas, such as land management and construction site management, to address these pressures.

A range of Guidelines are available through our Resources section.

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Community and Tourism

61% of all inbound visitors to Australia identify nature-based activities as the key purpose of their visit.

Our tourism industry generates approximately $2.9B per year for our economy.

Healthy Waterways is expanding our Monitoring Program to report on the many social and economic benefits our waterways provide.

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