Australian environmental

Australian Environmental Protection Agency


The EPA works to protect South Australian waters from the adverse impacts of pollution that might reduce their value to current and future generations. This includes our creeks, streams, rivers, coastal waters, groundwater and aquifers.

What is water quality and how is it assessed?

Water quality describes the condition of a water body and its related suitability for different purposes (also known as environmental values). In a healthy water body, the water quality supports a rich and varied community of organisms, sustains public health and/or agricultural applications.

Water quality and environmental values

When the EPA samples monitoring sites across the state and measures water quality, we take into account the importance of the water body as an ecosystem or a resource. This involves thinking about the environmental values that are to be protected, as set out in the Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2015 :

  • maintenance of aquatic ecosystems (eg river flows that help to keep rivers and marine environments healthy)
  • drinking water
  • primary industries including irrigation, livestock and aquaculture
  • recreational uses (eg swimming or boating) and aesthetics (visual appearance and enjoyment)


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