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SunWater to undertake Lake Tinaroo aerial herbicide spray for water hyacinth


SunWater will undertake aerial herbicide spraying of water hyacinth by helicopter at Lake Tinaroo over the coming weeks in cooperation with Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) and Biosecurity Queensland (BQ).

The operation will occur on the western side of Lake Tinaroo up to Tobacco Hill in stages between 3 August 2018 and 3 September 2018, weather permitting. Please see the attached map for spray zones.

Herbicide will be applied to the weed mat surface only and SunWater is asking residents to avoid contact with water hyacinth in the targeted areas during the notified spray period.

There are no forecast risks to aquatic life or water quality and Lake Tinaroo will remain open and accessible throughout the operation via northern entrances.

SunWater Executive General Manager – Operations Colin Bendall said aerial spraying was the most effective way to access and treat the outbreak quickly.

“Water hyacinth is a floating water weed introduced from South America and is a major pest of creeks, rivers and dams,” Mr Bendall said.

“Untreated, it can choke wetlands and waterways, kill native wildlife and interfere with recreational use. Water hyacinth depletes waterways of oxygen which can kill aquatic life including fish and forms a thick mat which renders bodies of water unusable for recreational purposes.

“Lake Tinaroo is currently facing an outbreak not seen in 10 years after recent flows from the Barron River transported the weed into the dam.

“Smaller outbreaks have been managed by boat in the past, but the size of this infestation requires aerial spraying to effectively manage the spread of the weed before it goes to seed, which can cause much a wider infestation.”

SunWater undertook limited treatment of the water hyacinth by helicopter in early June, but ceased operations early to minimise the risk of spray drift when wind speed increased.

Mr Bendall said safety of the operation was paramount and the small amount of spraying that occurred demonstrated the effectiveness of aerial treatment.

“We were very pleased with initial results and are now awaiting suitable weather conditions to align with the availability of the spraying contractor to restart the operation,” he said.

“SunWater has worked closely with BQ and TRC to action a treatment methodology which minimises environmental impacts and safeguards water quality."

“In addition to spraying, SunWater has been able to source a weevil that can be used as a biological control for water hyacinth. The weevils would take some time to establish and introduction will be considered when weather is warmer.”

Lavender Hill and Tinaburra boat ramps will be closed for the duration of works.

SunWater staff will patrol Lake Tinaroo on the day(s) of the spray to advise users to avoid direct contact with the targeted areas.

As helicopter spraying is weather dependent, up-to-date details of specific treatment dates and times will be posted via

Click here to view the map.


Media Enquiries

SunWater Media Team
Phone: +61 7 3120 0047