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What you do upstream affects downstream!
22 Sep 2013
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What you do upstream affects downstream!

Every year an average of about four million tonnes of soil and sediment are washed into the Fitzroy River. People around the basin region are doing their best to minimise the impact on the local river. They are making changes to the way they do things, because what they do upstream ultimately affects the water quality of the basin, including the Fitzroy River (Flow center, Rockhampton).

Cattle activity on the farms causes sediments that flows into the waters and up into the rivers, and then flows to the Fitzroy River and ends up into the Great Barrier Reef catchment. Most of the sediment and nutrients come from grazing land. The Fitzroy river water quality has deteriorated, because it contains large amount of sediments and nutrients (Flow center, Rockhampton).

Dry land cropping, irrigation, mining and urban development also contribute sediment and nutrients to our waterways (Flow center, Rockhampton).

Mining companies discharge large amounts of wastewater into the river system adding pollution into our water. This wastewater affects the water quality and impacts on the habitant of the river (Fitzroyriver.qld.gov.au, 2013).

Grass clippings, rubbish, and spilling oil down the drain adds to the contamination of the water in the river.

Actions people are taking to minimise the pollution and sediments flowing into our water

  • A farmer who grows cotton on the flood plain near Emerald has changed the layout of the fields to improve water efficiency. He has installed moisture probes to know how much water the crop needs, and he also improved the water recycling system. He now recycles 100% of the water which minimises the amount of water lost down the river (Flow center, Rockhampton). 


  • A grain grower discovered that he was applying three times more pesticide than he needed. He changed the nozzles to improve the pesticide application and this drastically reduced the amount of pesticide sprayed on the crops. He is now only using one tank of pesticide instead of three tanks saving the extra pesticide drifting into the waterways (Flow center, Rockhampton).


  • Cattle are fitted with GPS tracking to monitor how often they use the area. Scientists and farmers are working together to monitor how frequently and how long they use the area for so that they can change the way the cows use the area. By doing so, a trough is supplied to restrict their use of the river and this would decrease the sediment put into the water (Fba.org.au, 2013).


  • Local governments, town planners and builders are reducing run-off from urban areas by building pavements and gardens that soak up rain, storm water. If you have a rainwater tank at home, you are reducing run-off as sewage is a major source of nutrient pollution (Fitzroyriver.qld.gov.au, 2013).


  • Mining companies and other industries are now working to minimise run-off of heavy metals and nutrients, and plant trees on old mines sites (Fitzroyriver.qld.gov.au, 2013).
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