Strategic Waterways

Strategic Waterways

What is Strategic Waterways?

Strategic Waterways is a new tool to help waterway managers to assess and prioritise actions across the catchment and was launched at the World Engineers Convention, Melbourne November 2019. It takes a fresh look at the hazards damaging waterway health and strategies to manage our water values. It’s unique colour-coding and scoring system means it is easy to:

  • visualise hazards, values and needs;
  • diagnose what type of action is needed most;
  • decide which sites are highest priority; and
  • keep track of restoration progress for each section of waterway.
download the Strategic Waterways Guide
download the Strategic Waterways Tool

Why is it needed?

Waterway management is complex. There are often many competing objectives and it is very difficult for council and private industry to find the best mix of solutions. Current Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) policy in Queensland tends to focus solely on sediment and nutrient reduction. It does not recognise the complexity and typically results in one-size-fits all solutions that do not address the complete risk picture nor the potential co-benefits. New tools and new ways of thinking are needed.

How does it work?

Strategic Waterways uses a colour coding system to represent complex interactions between hazards, values and needs. These three dimensions combine to form a diagnosis of the catchment condition and can assist in planning potential treatment strategies and recovery pathways for the waterway. Strategic Waterways follows a 5-step process similar to the medical model as outlined below:

  • Step 1: Condition assessment  (what is the current health status of the waterway?)
  • Step 2: Diagnosis  (what is causing ill waterway health?)
  • Step 3: Treatment strategy (what treatment options should be used?)
  • Step 4: Triage (which section of waterway has the highest priority?)
  • Step 5: Monitoring (how effective is our strategy?)

The tool has a relatively simple visualisation and colour coding system which allows a masterplan for the catchment to be easily communicated and implemented. The results from the tool can be plotted on a single GIS layer highlighting key project sites within the catchment..

Conference Publications

Water by Design have published a number of papers that explain the background and intent of Strategic Waterways

download Let’s get our priorities straight
download Let’s get our ducks in a row
download 50 Shades of Risk
download 9 strategies to protect and enhance waterways

Conference Presentation

Water Pollution 2020 – Valencia, Spain

Water Pollution 2018 – A Caruna, Spain

Blueprint for Waterways

Learn about our Blueprint for Waterway Management Improvement

find out more
House Sites Toolkits

Browse our catalogue of Erosion & Sediment Control factsheets

find out more