Key catchment Hastings

The Hastings catchment is on the New South Wales (NSW) mid north coast. The catchment area of 4,484 square kilometres extends from the New England tablelands to the Pacific Ocean, encompassing 84 kilometres of coastline.

Major towns

Port Macquarie, at the mouth of the Hastings River, is the catchment's most populous town. Other major towns include Laurieton and Wauchope.

River and tributaries

There are two major rivers in the catchment: the Hastings, which rises in the Great Dividing Range and flows south-east through a coastal floodplain to Port Macquarie, where it meets the Pacific Ocean; and the Camden Haven, which flows through coastal lakes to the sea. Major tributaries include the Doyles, Ellenborough and Thone Rivers.

Real-time flow data

The department monitors the conditions of river systems in NSW and provides regular updates on water levels, rainfall, water temperature and electrical conductivity.

View real-time data from the Hastings catchment on this website.

Major water users

The fertile Comboyne Plateau and alluvial soils of the rivers' middle reaches support dairy and beef industries. In the lower reaches, important local users include livestock grazing, fishing, oyster farming grapes, tourism, and urban and rural residential. Local councils, water utilities, conservation and forestry are also major water users in the catchment

Key management issues

Due to the high density of rural settlement, the region's rivers and estuaries tend to be affected by changed run-off conditions caused by land clearing, agricultural use, human settlement and recreation.

Most of the rivers and creeks in the Hastings River Basin are unregulated, without major storages to capture and control flows. Most water users rely on natural flows or small structures, such as weirs for their water supplies. As in most unregulated rivers, flows are most affected during relatively dry times, when water levels are low and demand high.

Environmental values

Large areas of state forest and national park occur in the catchment's steep upper reaches, as well as on the coast.

Significant habitats with endangered ecological communities are to be found in Port Macquarie, the largest urban centre.

Major threats to the environmental integrity of this area include vegetation and habitat loss, environmental weed incursion, feral animals and acid sulphate soils on the coastal plain. Water quality and stream bank stability are major issues.

Water sharing plans

To preserve water resources in river and groundwater systems for the long term, it is critical to balance the competing needs of the environment and water users. Water sharing plans establish rules for sharing water between the environmental needs of the river or aquifer, and water users, and also between different types of water use such as town supply, rural domestic supply, stock watering, industry and irrigation. Water sharing plans to cover all catchments in NSW are progressively being developed in consultation with stakeholders and the community.

Visit Water Sharing Plans.