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ANZECC water quality guidelines

Revision of ANZECC guidelines approved

Australian and New Zealand Environment Ministers have given approval to undertake a revision of the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality 2000 (commonly known here as the ‘ANZECC guidelines’). Approval for the revision was given on 22 May 2009 at a meeting of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC).

The revised Guidelines will incorporate new data on a wide range of contaminants, toxic chemicals, and physical and chemical stressors. This will enable water managers to set appropriate thresholds for protecting water quality in different types of water bodies. The revision will be overseen by Australian and New Zealand Governments and is expected to take three years to complete. The current guidelines (2000) are still effective until the new ones come into place.


The primary objective of the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality guidelines, developed by the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC), is:

"To provide an authoritative guide for setting water quality objectives required to sustain current, or likely future, environmental values [uses] for natural and semi-natural water resources in Australia and New Zealand."

These guidelines provide an authoritative reference for water quality management in New Zealand - particularly for toxic contaminants. The guidelines play a vital role in the management of water quality in both New Zealand and Australia. They provide methods for setting limits on pollutant concentrations in freshwater, coastal and marine environments.

Background document

This report describes the approach taken for estimating the water quality "trigger" values for ecosystem protection that are used in the ANZECC guidelines. It includes site descriptions and percentile data summaries for the NIWA National River Water Quality Network monitoring sites that have been used to define trigger values.

Corrections for New Zealand users of the guidelines:


For more information about the Guidelines please contact:
Science and Evaluation Team
Ministry for the Environment
PO Box 10362
New Zealand
Ph: +64 4 439 7521


Australian Water Association
Level 2, 44 Hampden Rd, Artarmon, NSW, 2064
PO Box 388, Artarmon, NSW, 1570
Phone: (02) 9413-1288
Fax: (02) 9413-1047
Telephone: +61 2 9413 1288
Fax: +61 2 9413 1047

More information about the ANZECC 2000 guidelines:

Other water information:

  • See the fresh water page for related reports, policies, regulations, projects, partnerships, guidelines and tools about fresh water.
  • For a full list of publications relating to water refer to the water publications page.