One of the key aspects of environmental values (EVs) is that they should provide a common vision of the values and uses of a waterway or groundwater aquifer for the whole community. There are a range of methods and techniques to engage the community in establishing draft EVs and water quality objectives. The key activities and objectives are outlined below.
1. Develop an appropriate community consultation/participation process
- Ensure that community members who are interested in, and/or may be affected by, or have an influence on achieving the draft water quality objectives (WQOs), have an opportunity to be part of the consultation/paticipation process. See the section on community involvement for more information.
2. Undertake a consultation/participation process to establish draft EVs, including providing information and consulting on
- EVs/WQOs context, concepts, process and outcomes (essentially the WQ Management Framework);
- Proposed study area map/scope of waterways or groundwater aquifers under consideration;
- Available information on subdividing aquatic ecosystems into three levels of protection;
- Available information on current and potential future water uses in the study area;
- Available information on current water quality suitability for water uses/aquatic ecosystem protection (three levels);
- Groupings of waterways into reaches of similar EVs or groundwater aquifers with similar EVs;
- Community's views on levels of protection for aquatic ecosystems for all groupings of waterways/aquifers;
- Community's views on current and future (where possible) human uses of waterways for all groupings of waterways/aquifers;
- Identification of the possible causes of water quality deterioration; and
- Any additional relevant details, e.g. additional scientific studies, information on point and non-point sources of pollution, etc.
- Provide detailed information to the community on known current values and uses of the waterways or groundwater aquifers; current condition of the waterways or groundwater aquifers; and water quality suitability for the known values and uses; and
- Obtain additional information from the stakeholders on values, uses and condition of the waterways or groundwater aquifers, facilitated by their interaction with each other; and
- then Establish agreed draft EVs for all groupings of waterways/aquifers in the study area.
The Douglas Shire Community Workshop Report (May 2003) provides a good example of developing EVs using a workshop approach ( Douglas Shire Council )