Dataset: Indicators of Catchment Condition in the Intensive Land Use Zone of Australia – Pesticide hazard


It should be noted that this data is now somwhat dated!

Pesticide (incl. herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fumigants) use is a
direct measure of the input of toxins into the natural environment and is
relevant at property, catchment and regional scales. Pesticide use can be
managed at the catchment scale through policies and/or regulations controlling
applications, availability, etc.

Waterway health is sensitive to the magnitude, frequency and toxicity of
applications. The NLWR National Land-Use map (2001) is currently the best
available national coverage (1:1M). national pesticide use data set is not

Every land-use class in the NLWR land-use map was given a pesticide rating,
based on the toxicity of pesticides used, frequency of application and $
spent. Rating is based on expert opinion (J. Walcott, BRS, pers. comm.), and
assumes that each land-use can be equated to particular pesticide usage
patterns. standard methodology has not been used.

Data reliability is poor, due to the subjectivity of the rating system, the
lack of actual pesticide data and spatial integrity of the land-use map. The
rating of pesticide use is unequivocal a a high rating, reflecting substantial
and frequent application and/or high toxicity, implies a high waterway
contamination hazard. However, the pesticide type, the method of application
and usage has been assumed based on land-use practice, and is not an absolute
measure of pesticide use. The indicator has not been validated, however it is
widely understood by users.

Nature conservation and grazing on native pastures indicate a low hazard from
pesticide. In contrast the areas of extensive cropping and the irrigation
districts areas show a high application rate, with a consequent high hazard to
land and waterway condition. The high hazard areas are concentrated in the
800-1000mm rainfall belt west of the dividing range in SE Victoria and NSW,
and also parts in SW Western Australia, and in Central Queensland. The
detailed analysis also suggests that many AWRC basins contain a wide range of
hazard values.

The environmental linkage of pesticide hazard between sub-catchments is likely
to be complex so area-based averaging of a hazard rating in AWRC basins may be
misleading. River basins with relatively high hazard ratings include:
Greenough, Avon and Blackwood Rivers in WA; Broughton, Wakefield, Gawler and
Torrens Rivers in SA; Wimmera a Avon, Avoca, Yarra, Maribyrnong, and Latrobe
Rivers, Tambo Rivers in Vic; in Tasmania, the Arthur and Rubicon Rivers; in
NSW, the Sydney-Georges, Macquarie-Tuggerah Lakes, and Gwydir Rivers; and in
Queensland, the Tully, Boyne, Calliope, Ross, Curtis Island, Maroochy,
Johnston, South Coast and Mulgrave-Russell Rivers.

Data are available as:

See [further metadata](
__06221axx.xml) for more detail.

General Information