Update 1 October 2021
Swimming should be avoided for several days after heavy rainfall as bacterial levels are strongly affected by such events. Please monitor The Swim Guide for the latest water quality information for Lake Burley Griffin.
Lake Burley Griffin management
Administration of Lake Burley Griffin (the Lake) is governed by the Lakes Ordinance 1976. The National Capital Authority (NCA) administers powerboats, moorings, major events, and various other matters associated with use of the Lake. For more information view the Lake Burley Griffin Recreation Policy.
The NCA protects the quality of the water and promotes use of the Lake.
The water body, jetties, and other Lake infrastructure are routinely cleaned and repaired to ensure safe use and function as well as the removal of floating and submerged objects and rubbish.
The environmental state of the Lake is monitored through physical, chemical, and biological testing of the Lake water. These parameters are measured across the Lake and analysed to identify any change and, if required, appropriate management responses are proposed. Bacterial and algal levels are monitored weekly during the Summer Recreational Season (the Season) which is mid October to mid April. The water is analysed and reported on in accordance with the ACT Guidelines for Recreational Water Quality (ACT Health, 2014). The Lake Burley Griffin Water Quality Updates are available via www.theswimguide.org or through the free Swim Guide App.
The native fish population in Lake Burley Griffin is enhanced through the regular seeding of fingerlings. Species such as Murray Cod and Golden Perch are released on an alternate basis to maintain a mixed recreational fishery. The Lake Burley Griffin Fish Survey 2017 can be found here.
Aquatic plants control program
Part of the Lake maintenance includes monitoring the growth of submerged and emergent aquatic plants (macrophytes). Aquatic plants, though serving an important role in the Lake's ecology, can interfere with recreational activities. The NCA monitors and controls excessive plant growth in the Lake.
Lake Burley Griffin Depths Map
A full copy of detailed bathymetric maps as of November 2015 can be obtained through the NCA. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lake Ginninderra, Lake Tuggeranong, Yerrabi Ponds, Molonglo Reach and Kingston Harbour
Lake Ginninderra, Lake Tuggeranong, Yerrabi Ponds, Molonglo Reach and Kingston Harbour are managed by the ACT Government, please call 13 22 81 or ACT Water Quality website for further details.
Water Quality Management
Lake Burley Griffin (the Lake) is generally regarded as ornamental/recreational waters. The use of the Lake is promoted in a sustainable manner protecting and enhancing its character and quality.
The NCA manages a comprehensive water quality program to monitor the environmental status of the Lake and to advise the users regarding changes in the water quality conditions arising from floods, droughts, elevated bacterial, and algae conditions.
The NCA's Water Quality Program has three components.
- Routine testing of physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the water from mid stream samples. Samples are taken periodically throughout the year and cover the larger areas of the Lake.
- Microbiological monitoring at ten recreational sites. Samples are taken weekly from mid October to mid April which is the Summer Recreational Season (the Season). During the Season the results the Lake Burley Griffin Water Quality Updates are available via www.theswimguide.org or through the free Swim Guide App with information closures arising from elevated bacterial levels. Water quality sampling and analysis is in accordance with the National Water Quality Guidelines and ACT Guidelines for Recreational Water Quality (ACT Health 2014).
- Algae monitoring program. Weekly visual inspections are undertaken throughout the year. Sampling and analysis of the water is undertaken during the Summer Recreational Season from mid October to mid April (the Season). Samples are taken weekly at ten recreational sites. During the Season the results the Lake Burley Griffin Water Quality Updates are available via www.theswimguide.org or through the free Swim Guide App with information about appropriate alert or closure actions arising from elevated blue green algae levels. Water quality sampling and analysis is in accordance with the National Water Quality Guidelines and ACT Guidelines for Recreational Water Quality (ACT Health 2014).
The Lake Burley Griffin Water Quality Management Plan 2011 is available here.
Canberra's Drains are just for the rain
Canberra’s stormwater drains carry water to an extensive network of streams, wetlands, ponds and lakes – including Lake Burley Griffin. These provide habitat for fish, frogs and birds while improving the liveability of the city. Help us improve and care for the water in Lake Burley Griffin. How can you prevent pollutants from entering the waterways
Lake Burley Griffin and surrounding parklands
Lake Burley Griffin is Canberra's centrepiece and a significant number of national institutions and national public places are located on or near its shores.
The Lake and surrounding areas are used for a wide range of recreational activities. There are lovely parks for picnics and areas for swimming as well as walking tracks and cycling paths. The Lake is a busy waterway with rowing, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, dragon boating, fishing, model boating and stand up paddle boarding are just some of the activities available. There are a number of clubs and associations organising activities on and around the Lake.
Around the Lake there are many services available including boat, kayak, paddle boat hire, Lake cruises and ferry services. There are also cafés and restaurants around the Lake where you can relax and take in the view.
Lake User Group
The NCA facilitates the Lake User Group (LUG) which meets quarterly. Formed in 2004, LUG enables the communication of Lake matters, events and management issues to those user groups and individuals who may be affected by these. Many LUG members are membership based organisations, peak sporting bodies and commercial operators.
A list of those organisations who are part of LUG and their contact email addresses can be found here. These groups can offer a wide range of Lake based activities and many of them welcome new members.
Groups interested in joining the Lake User Group should contact the NCA via LUG@nca.gov.au
Lake User Group Meetings
Please contact LUG@nca.gov.au for the date and location of the next meeting.
The NCA administers the use of power boats on Lake Burley Griffin in accordance to the provision of the Lakes Ordinance 1976. These provisions also cover: moorings; anchoring; the restrictions on the use of power boats; lighting rules; rules of the water; and the navigation of a boat in a dangerous or careless manner or while intoxicated.
The NCA issues boat permits to powered boats used for private recreational use (e.g. fishing boats and RHIB’s). These vessels are allowable but must use auxiliary (electric) motors whilst on the Lake. Petrol motors do not have to be removed from boats but, except in the case of an emergency, they are not permitted to be used on the Lake. There is currently no charge for NCA issued boat permits.
Non-powered craft such as sailing boats and canoes do not require a permit to go onto the Lake.
The use of powered craft on Lake Burley Griffin (the Lake) is permitted under provisions of the Lakes Ordinance 1976.
Powered boats require a permit to go onto the Lake. Permits are issued throughout the year and are renewed on an annual basis. Temporary permits are also available for short term use such as for events. Click here for more information about boat permits for Lake Burley Griffin.
Using Lake Burley Griffin
Lake Burley Griffin (the Lake) is a popular venue for water sports, in particular, sailing, rowing, sail boarding and canoeing. With the increasing number of craft on the Lake, the NCA has recommendations for traffic flow whilst on the water.
The Lake Traffic Flow Map can be found here.
The Lake Burley Griffin Boating Map can be downloaded from here.
Lake Burley Griffin is the centrepiece of the National Capital. It holds special significance and values which are recognised in the following Heritage Management Plans:
Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands Heritage Management Plan
To guide the management of Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands the NCA has prepared a heritage management plan to identify, protect and manage the heritage values. The heritage management plan has been prepared in accordance with the heritage management principles and requirements for management plans set out in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
National Carillon and Aspen Island Heritage Management Plan
The National Capital Authority (NCA) manages the Australian Government's continuing interest in the planning and development of Canberra as the Australian National Capital. The National Carillon and Aspen is included on the Commonwealth Heritage List and managed by the NCA.