Warm weather brings heightened risk of algae

05 Nov 2015

SunWater is reminding visitors to dams over the coming months that warmer weather could lead to increases in blue-green algae (BGA) blooms.

SunWater Environment and Water Planning Manager, Gordon Delaney said BGA was commonly found in most large water storages across Queensland and the public should be aware it can pose potential health risks for people and livestock.

"BGA blooms are not uncommon at this time of year and occur to varying extents depending on climate, season and storage location," Mr Delaney said.

"As part of SunWater’s Environmental Management System, we regularly monitor BGA levels in our major storages across Queensland and advise the public of any risks through storage hazard information on SunWater’s website.

"There are many contaminants in addition to the naturally occurring BGA that can find their way into water storages from various activities in the catchment, making the water unsuitable for direct drinking purposes.

"Using untreated dam water for domestic purposes can cause skin rashes and other health problems.

"Eating fish and crabs caught in dams that have higher than normal BGA levels can also pose a risk and people are advised to exercise care if considering eating their fishing catches.

"Graziers are advised that there is also a potential risk for livestock who may be grazing near water storages that contain high levels of BGA."

Mr Delaney said SunWater regularly updated BGA hazard signs at all its dam sites so people visiting the dams for recreational swimming, skiing, fishing or camping were informed of any potential risks.

"The risk of encountering BGA blooms will be listed as a low, moderate or high and we ask that visitors read the signs and take the necessary precautions at our dams," he said.

For the latest BGA hazard advisories at SunWater dams, visit the Water Storage Level section of www.sunwater.com.au or call 13 15 89.

List of current BGA levels at SunWater dams

Far North Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Tinaroo Falls

Moderate

27 October 2015

North Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Burdekin Falls

Low

5 October 2015

Eungella

Moderate

26 October 2015

Kinchant

Low

26 October 2015

Peter Faust

Moderate

26 October 2015

Teemburra

Moderate

26 October 2015

North West Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Julius

High

20 October 2015

Central Queensland Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Fairbairn

Low

27 October 2015

Callide

Low

26 October 2015

Wide Bay-Burnett Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Fred Haigh

Moderate

26 October 2015

Cania

Low

26 October 2015

Paradise

Moderate

26 October 2015

Wuruma

Low

26 October 2015

Boondooma

Low

6 October 2015

Bjelke-Petersen

Low

27 October 2015

South West Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Beardmore

Low

8 October 2015

Coolmunda

Moderate

26 October 2015

Leslie

Moderate

26 October 2015

BGA status levels are an indication of the risk. For example, if the level is high, there is a higher chance that the average person will suffer some form of irritation. Moderate levels are less likely to cause problems, however a risk is still present. Low levels are unlikely to cause health problems, however some people may be more sensitive than others.

Media Enquiries

SunWater Media Team
Phone: +61 7 3120 0047
Email: media@sunwater.com.au

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