Blue-green algae levels in waterways over summer months

22 Dec 2016

As temperatures continue to rise across Queensland, SunWater is reminding people visiting regional dams and weirs to be aware of the increased potential for blue-green algae (BGA) blooms in waterways.

SunWater Environment and Water Planning Manager Gordon Delaney said BGA is found in most large water storages and that people need to be aware of the potential health risks.

“Blue-green algae thrive in warm, slow moving water. The warmer temperatures may prevent water from mixing and allow algae to grow faster,” said Mr Delaney.

"Contact with or consumption of untreated dam water can cause skin rashes and other health problems. Some people are more susceptible to algae-related irritation than others, just as some people are more prone to allergies.

"Fish and shellfish caught in dams with a high BGA level may also be harmful and people are advised to exercise care if considering eating their fishing catches – particularly children and older people.

SunWater regularly monitors BGA levels in our major storages across the state and advise the public of levels through signage at our sites and BGA recreational risk information on the SunWater website.

“SunWater provides the recreation hazard levels to help you assess the risk, however only you can make the decision. Noticeable surface scums are also an indication of an increased risk of irritation and should be avoided.

"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.

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