Governments and community working together on the SA Catchment to Coast project focusing on water quality improvement across urban Adelaide, 2013 to 2017

Mrs Linda-Marie Mcdowell1

1SA Environment Protection Authority, Adelaide, Australia


The SA Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is the lead for the project ‘Catchment to coast focus for water quality improvement across urban Adelaide’ which fits under the Adelaide Coastal Water Quality Improvement Plan (ACWQIP) released by the EPA in 2013. The ACWQIP followed on from the Adelaide Coastal Waters Study conducted over 2001 to 2007 in response to concerns of declines in water quality and loss of seagrass. The ACWS indicated that industry and stormwater inputs to the coast were impacting on  water quality and seagrass health. Since 2013 discharges from industry have significantly reduced. Stormwater now is the main challenge for coastal water quality.

The Australian Government National Landcare Programme funded Catchment to Coast project involves governments and communities working together to improve water quality across urban Adelaide. Key sub-projects forming the basis for much of the partnership work have included: developing water sensitive urban design (WSUD) demonstration sites, implementing the Rain Garden 500 grant program and working with the Kaurna people (the local people of the Adelaide region) to convey cultural messages on the connectedness between people-land-water. To date the partnerships have included the EPA working with and alongside other government agencies, 12 local governments across metropolitan Adelaide, nine community groups (including 2 schools, 2 businesses on rain garden construction) and to being a part of at least four local government projects with Kaurna people.

Understanding the ‘catchment to coast’ connection which is part of natural resources management in urban environments, is consistent with messages on the interconnectedness between people, land and water that have been coming out of the Kaurna workshops held between 2015 to 2017. Highlights of the project from 2013 to 2017 will be presented.


Linda-Marie has studied and worked in SA aquatic environments since 1991. Her academic background includes studies in Biology, Geography, Environmental Science, Natural Resources Management and Public Sector Management. She has worked extensively with community groups and local governments with Waterwatch and Coastcare programs across southern SA, and has now worked within SA Government for over 16 years. Currently she is a project leader on the Catchment to Coast project which is about improving water quality for Adelaide’s coastal waters.