Case studies

In recognition of the importance of influencing practice change for water quality outcomes, the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan (Reef 2050 WQIP) includes specific consideration of the human dimensions (i.e., the social, economic, institutional, environmental and cultural factors and attitudes, motivations and barriers ) of achieving water quality improvements. The target by 2025 is that active engagement of communities and land managers in programs to improve water quality is increased.

Following this recognition, which is supported by strong empirical evidence , the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program: Program Design 2018-2022 (PDF, 8.1MB) proposed that social monitoring questions be incorporated into the Paddock to Reef agricultural management practice adoption questionnaire for the sugarcane, grazing, grains, horticulture and banana industries. As a result, from July 2019, land managers engaged in government-funded programs and projects that focus on water quality are asked the same set of voluntary social monitoring questions (PDF, 492.5KB) about their attitudes, motivations and barriers towards specific land management practices.

While the Reef Water Quality Report Card 2019 shows some progress in places, an acceleration in practice change is required to reach the 2025 catchment management targets. The social monitoring data will progress our understanding of what motivates or obstructs land managers from taking up improved practices across different industry groups. This increased understanding will help tailor investment and approaches to make a positive difference in engaging land managers.

The quantitative components of the social monitoring questions will also inform the development of a human dimension baseline to track trends in future Reef water quality report cards. The social monitoring baseline will be outlined in the next report card with trends reported after that.

These case studies highlight some of the progress towards the human dimension target of actively engaging land managers.