The Hawkesbury Nepean Waterkeepers Alliance

Creating A Community Voice for The River

The Hawkesbury Nepean Waterkeepers Alliance

Creating A Community Voice for The River

Community Participation -


The issue

The Hawkesbury Nepean River is highly impacted by urban development. It provides 97% of drinking water to our growing population of more than 4.8 million people living in and around Sydney.

A lack of understanding of what happens to storm water and our impacts along rivers suggests educational awareness needs to be increased.  

The solution

Our Alliance is committed to meaningful work within our communities, built on strong connections to develop long term health strategies for our river.

We are working directly with the wider community for active participation and involvement, feedback and ideas. We are improving catchment health by undertaking a holistic systems approach. We are connecting with and complementing existing initiatives, expressed by 55 stakeholders, individuals from 23 industry bodies and 7 community groups that participated in our first community forum. Our second forum was attended by 44 virtual attendees from 39 different organisations and local groups.

We provide community training days, education about healthy riverbanks while collecting data on water quality and riparian health.

The impact

Our first Report Card was published utilising data collected from the community, driven by existing initiatives, university students and citizen science training using scientifically proven methods.

With increased volunteer opportunities and engagement, we focus on collaboration to support environmental river health outcomes and create partnerships with stakeholders. Ensuring the health, stewardship and ecological qualities of this iconic tributary system is both maintained and improved by the whole community. 


The opportunity exists to engage all stakeholders within the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment for accessible and transparent water quality data and river health report cards. The community expressed a desire for a body to consolidate the legislation, monitoring, advocacy and management of the Hawkesbury-Nepean River. There is a real need to take a whole catchment approach to water quality monitoring and reporting and to have data openly accessible in a central location. 

Key facts

  • "Cultural Walk & Talk" on the values of water with local Dharug elders and educators.
  • Refreshed website to include updated river resources.
  • Released a Report Card of River Health.
  • Successfully delivered committed training days: equating to 205 volunteer hours.

Project Partners