The South Esk basin catchment area provides water for agriculture and hence sustains the population living around it with respect to food needs among others. Ecosystem services provided have a direct impact on the human population. This includes the water levels usable for power generation. The water is used in the Great Lake-South Esk basin, Hydro Electrics, for power generation. In addition, the water is supplied directly to the houses around the area for domestic uses. On an average, it is estimated that around 840 megaliters of water is supplied to the different town areas of Mathinna, St Mary’s and Fingal etc. (Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, 2005).
Users rely on this water and are usually asked to boil water before they use it in their households. In addition to this, the catchment area waters support sea species from fishes to the more threatened species varieties such as the Hydrobatidae snails, some species varieties of the caddisfly and endangered Swan Galaxies. Native fishes available in the catchment are seen to be used as food for the locals. Some of the challenges faced in the catchment area are as follows. Firstly, it has been observed that agricultural attempts have led to an almost threatened state of the native vegetation. The dry forest woodlands have been cleared of and this in turn has led to reduction of native plant species. Forestry activity and mining both have an impact on the catchment. This, in addition to reduction of trees, adds to the pollution in the areas. While oxygen levels are good enough to support aquatic ecosystems, it was identified that sometimes the levels were low and this could be directly linked to the organic loading happening in this site.
There are sewage treatment plants available, however, localized nutritional enrichment happens at the site of these plants created algal blooms which are more of a nuisance and not a benefit. Some amount of zinc and copper concentrations from mines has been observed to have a negative effect on the aquatic biota (Norris et al., 1982). There are acid drainages observed from the mines along with metal pollutants (Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, 2005). Local water arsenic levels hence have risen in some areas like Mathinna. Quarrying activities poses a risk, but they are being implemented with Quarry ode of practices. Downstream habitat degradation has happened and there are sever losses in terms of invertebrate species, fish stocks and exotic species etc. Erosion and soil loss have been observed and there are negative consequences of flooding because of clearing of surround marshes and more.