Macquarie Tuggerah

Key catchment Macquarie Wyong wetlands

The Macquarie Tuggerah catchment is located in the NSW Central Coast and Lake Macquarie area directly south of the Hunter basin. The catchment covers an area of 1,630 square kilometres and is bordered by a series of east flowing streams in the north, and the Sugarloaf Ranges to the north-west.

Catchment area

The Hawkesbury River acts as a boundary to the south, while the Hunter Range separates the Macquarie Tuggerah catchment from the Mangrove Creek catchment.

Major towns

Wyong, Toronto, Belmont, Swansea, The Entrance, West Wallsend and Morrisett.

Rivers and tributaries

Dora Creek runs south-east for 25 kilometres to meet Lake Macquarie at the township of Dora Creek. The tidal influence in Dora Creek extends 12 kilometres upstream of Stockton Creek. The major tributaries of Dora Creek include Moran, Tobins, Jigadee, Blarney and Deep creeks.

Wyong River runs south-east for 48 kilometres to meet Tuggerah Lake at Tacoma. The tidal influence in Wyong River extends approximately nine kilometres past the junction to Deep Creek. The Wyong River's major tributaries include Jilliby Jilliby and Cedar Brush creeks.

Ourimbah Creek runs south-east for 31 kilometres to meet Tuggerah Lake at Chittaway. Ourimbah Creek's major tributaries include Elliots, Bumbles, Toobys, and Bangalow creeks, which drain the southern most corner of the catchment.

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 Macquarie Tuggerah catchment on this website.

Major water users

Major industries relying on the catchment's rivers and estuarine resources include power generation, coal mining, sandstone and sand mining, heavy industry, agriculture and associated businesses, including dairy, beef cattle, poultry, citrus orchards, wine grapes, horse and cattle studs, turf growers and horticulture, food and textiles and infrastructure. Gosford Wyong Councils Water Supply Authority is also a major water user.

Key water management issues

The impact of human activity on the rivers in the catchment include:

  • both point source and non-point source or diffuse pollution of waterways
  • changed patterns of vegetation cover caused by altered land use patterns and specific land management practices
  • flow manipulation through storage and consumptive use of the waters.

Most of the rivers and creeks in the Macquarie-Tuggerah Lakes Basin are unregulated, meaning there are no 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 is low and demand high.

Environmental values

Marine sediment deposits occur along the major water courses. These deposits include the barrier beach systems found within areas enclosing Tuggerah and Munmorah Lakes and at Swansea, Redhead and The Entrance.

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 in this catchment:

  • Central Coast Unregulated
  • Hunter Unregulated and Alluvial

Visit Water Sharing Plans for a status update.