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 Water Quality

Before we can start, we need to have a good understanding of the type of water quality that the reef needs to survive. Click on the following links to help you find out. (Hint: It may be useful to write down some notes as you go).

Click here to find out what type of aquatic environment coral polyps need to survive.

Visit the Reef Ed website to discover some important information about the reef and water quality.

This website provides some additional information about water quality.


  Investigating Our Waterways and Catchments

Another important piece of the puzzle is to understand how pollutants, pesticides, chemicals and nutrients make their way from the land into the Great Barrier Reef. The following links will help you to discover the connection from the land to the reef.

Look through this poster which clearly demonstrates how the water that falls on the land makes its way to the reef through our waterways 
        and catchment systems.

This video explains what a catchment area is and how water that falls as rain over the land makes its way back to the ocean. It also 
         explains how this process has a negative impact on reef life.

Here is a map of Queensland's reef catchment areas.

The water we use in our homes and gardens also makes its way back to the ocean. The sewage system treats the water we use indoors
        (the water we use when we flush the toilet, have a shower or wash the dishes). Water that we use outdoors to wash our car, water the 
        garden or water that falls into our gutters goes down the drains into the stormwater system.

  Your Roles

  Now that you all have the important background knowledge, it is time for you to decide upon your expert roles. Each member of 
  the group must take on one of the following roles. Click on your role once your group has decided.

  Expert One
  Environmental Researcher

  Researches the impacts on water quality  
  caused by coastal development and erosion.


Expert Two
Waste Management Specialist

Expert on land based pollution and its effect on the Great Barrier Reef.

Expert Three
Marine Environmental Consultant

Expert on pollution contributed by recreational and commercial users of the Great Barrier Reef.


  You will become an expert on the impact of  
  the following on water quality and the reef:
  • Coastal Developments
  • Flooding
  • The effect of erosion and how it is linked to high sediment and nutrient levels

You will become an expert on the impact of the following on water quality and the reef:

  • Agricultural Practices that involve pesticides 
  • Littering/Pollution through stormwater and sewage systems
  • Use of harmful chemicals and oils

You will become an expert on the impact of the following on water quality and the reef:

  • Commercial Fishing/Mining Industries
  • Tourism Industry
  • Recreational users of the Great Barrier Reef

  Developing Your Group Proposal

  After you have researched information in your specific roles, you will need to develop your proposal as a group.

  It may be helpful to pick three specific threats to water quality (one problem from each expert role) and work out a solution to each problem as a 
  group. Use this template to help your group plan and develop your proposal.

  TIP: Try to come up with unique ideas but also make sure that you are creating realistic solutions.


  Ensure that your Group Considers all Stakeholders!
  Think about how your proposal will impact:

    Try to ensure that your solutions to improving the reefs water quality do not disadvantage too many stakeholders. It can be tricky trying to please 
    everyone! You will need to address how your proposal will impact each of these stakeholders in your final presentation. 

    Use this stakeholder analysis template to get you started.

   Creating Your Presentation
Your presentation and Powerpoint will need to include the following information: 

  • How water quality effects the reefs ability to survive.
  • Identify the different threats to sustaining high quality water to the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Identify three problems which your group is aiming to propose a solution for.
  • Identify your solutions/plans to tackle the issue of the reefs declining water quality.
  • Ensure you explain how your solution/plan will solve or improve the issue of the reef's declining water quality.
  • Include any images, maps, diagrams etc that are required to effectively communicate your design ideas.
  • Demonstrate how your plan/solution impacts all identified stakeholders.

  After your group presents your presentation, be prepared to answer questions from the audience. You will also need to submit a printed copy of your
  groups Powerpoint presentation to your teacher. This must be in handout format (6 slides per page) and clearly indicate which group member created
  each slide.

  Visit this link for tips on how to create an effective Powerpoint presentation and find out some more useful tips for delivering your 
  presentation here. To see how you will be marked on this project please see the evaluation page.

  Don't forget that your presentation needs to run for approximately three minutes. That is one minute per group member.


The final part of your project requires you to each individually evaluate the following: 
  • How well you worked together as a group
  • How well you contributed to your group as an individual
  • How appropriate/successful your plan would be if it was actually implemented
  • Suggestions to improve your groups plan 
  • What you have learnt from this project
  • What you would do differently next time

  You will need to address these points in a written word document (approximately 200 words), attach it to an email and send to your teacher.
  This will be due after your presentation. Click here to access your evaluation template.