The ANZECC 2000 Guidelines establish a framework for developing water quality guideline values based on the condition of aquatic ecosystems and the levels of protection provided to them. The three levels of aquatic ecosystem condition are :
- High ecological/conservation value systems ( referred to as high-ecological-value systems or HEV);
- Slightly to moderately disturbed systems (SMD); and
- Highly disturbed systems (HD).
Each of the Dry Tropics subcatchments have been evaluated for aquatic ecosystem condition by an expert panel in close collaboration with the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (QEPA).