Whilst the rain is falling all around town today, DNS casts it’s mind back to February 26 this year when a Red Alert was declared for the Edward River.
That’s right, the Red Alert was issued just over two months ago and it shows no sign of going away as the Blue-Green Algae continues to hang around.
The warning status as of yesterday is officially the following from the Department of Primary Industries and NSW Office of Water;
A red alert warning is currently in place for the Murray River from and including Hume Dam to Lock 9 weir pool, as well as the Edward and Wakool river systems.
These red alert level warnings indicated that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water such as swimming, as well as domestic uses including showering and washing. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.
Livestock owners are advised to continue to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scum is visible or blue-green algae are suspected.
It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels. Regular monitoring will continue and the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of algae dissipate.
Frustration must surely be building up for many residents whose livelihoods depends on the river being in top shape as this situation continues to drag on putting a clamp on river activities and more.
Some are still wondering if the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is the cause of the Algae that has affected many rivers in Southern NSW as well as a couple further up the state.
A recent call by a Far west NSW MP asking Queensland to give back water for the Murray-Darling system could be the start of something that makes sure the Rivers are properly flowing and lowering the chances of Blue-Green Algae popping up everywhere?
What does flow got to do with Algae? When typing in ‘What causes Blue-Green Algae’ on Google, the following lines is part of the answer;
“Waters that flow slowly with low turbulence – such as impounded rivers, dams, or water storages – are at particularly high risk of algal blooms‘
The Department of the Environment has a page on what it is and this is part of what they say;
Blue-green algae can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. In still conditions, surface water may form a separate warm top layer (‘stratification’) in which blue-green algae is able to access sunlight and nutrients. If these combined factors are present for several days, algae multiply and form large ‘blooms’. The process of excess nutrients causing rapid growth of aquatic plant and bacterial life in a water body is known as ‘eutrophication’.
Food for thought as this situation goes on and on.