Geographical Analysis Of The Hawkesbury Nepean River Catchment

1347 words - 5 pages

Describe and explain the spatial and ecological dimensions of the river catchment you have chosen.The Hawkesbury river catchment is one of the largest river catchments in Eastern Australia. The river catchment is located roughly to the west of Sydney and is sourced from the Great Dividing range and flows out to sea at Broken Bay. Spanning from Goulbourn in the South to Broken Bay in the North, the whole catchment area approximately covers around 22000 square kilometers of the Sydney Basin area.The physical terrain of the Hawkesbury consists geologically of mainly sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and shale, and its rugged form is generally due to human impact and natural erosion. These artificial and natural processed have carved out valleys and hills and shape the Hawkesbury to the shape we recognize today. The climatic conditions in the catchment are highly variable due to the presence of the surrounding mountains and the nearby influence of the ocean. Rainfall is fairly high which is mainly due to the presence of mountains causing orographic precipitation. Average annual rainfall ranges anywhere form 900 millimetres to 1200 millimetres.The catchment is a very valuable natural asset as it supplies important economical and environmental resources to the Sydney Region.The heterogeneous land usage in the Hawkesbury catchment facilitates both natural conservations and economic industries. Communities, both urban and rural are developing in the catchment area and this also directly relates to the increasing industries such as intensive agriculture in the area.Agricultural production is estimated to be worth 1 billion dollars per year and most of the Sydney Regions fresh produce are supplied from farms located in the catchment area. The Hawkesbury catchment region is also a major recreational and tourist venue estimated to generate approximately 60 million dollars a year.One of the major factors that make the Hawkesbury river catchment so important is that it's the main water source for the whole of the Sydney Region, which includes Illawarra and the Blue Mountains. The river provides both drinkable and non-drinkable water to the population and this also facilitates aquatic industries such as commercial fishing, waste water disposal and stock water for watering and irrigation. Basically, Sydney relies on the Hawkesbury river catchment alone to support nearly all its industrial and domestic water needs.The Hawkesbury river catchment also sustains a vast biodiversity of plant and animal species including many threatened or endangered species. Approximately over half of the Hawkesbury catchment area is Crown land and 65% of that consists of state forests, protected national parks and catchments built for water supplies.Examine the impacts of communities on the river catchment, and the effects these impacts have upon the biophysical environment within the catchment.Communities, both urban and rural, are rapidly increasing in the Hawkesbury River...

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