Blue-green algae is naturally occurring and can reproduce quickly in still or slow-flowing water when there is abundant sunlight and sufficient nutrients.

Updates and information about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be obtained by visiting – www.waternsw.com.au/algae or Water Insights or calling 1800 999 457.

General enquiries – Azadeh Golshan (RACC Coordinator) | azadeh.golshan@waternsw.com.au

24 May 2024

Drinking (filtered) water for Pooncarie, Wentworth, Dareton, Buronga and Gol Gol townships are all suitable for consumption. The Pooncarie township drinking water is currently being sourced from groundwater and not the Darling River. Please note that there is a dual reticulated water system, where garden taps have untreated water drawn from the river, for Menindee and Lower Darling River at Pooncarie. Therefore livestock, pets and children should not be exposed to this water and that caution should be practiced if using the water for watering food crops and lawns.

RED ALERT

WaterNSW has issued a Red alert advisory for high levels of potentially toxic blue-green algae in the Lower Darling River at Pooncarie, Burtundy, Ellerslie, Tapio as well as 13 Km upstream of Pomona and at the Pomona boat ramp.

Updated results for the lower Darling River at US Pomona (20 May) and Pomona at Boat ramp (13 May) again indicate a significant presence of Synechococcus cf sp species (non-toxic cyanobacteria). Additionally, a potential toxic species, Anabaenopsis sp, was detected at the Darling River at US Pomona (4.05 mm3/L) on 20 May.

AMBER ALERT

The Murray River at  Buronga, Merbein, Fort Courage and Lock 8 are on Amber alert for blue-green algae.

Lake Victoria Outlet Regulator is on Amber alert.

The Great Darling Anabranch at the Silver City Highway crossing is on Amber alert for blue-green algae.

Alert Definitions for Recreational Waters

Alert Definitions as specified in The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water 2008. The use of these guidelines is endorsed by the Scientific Subcommittee of the NSW Algal Advisory Group.

These alert levels represent ‘bloom’ conditions.

  • Water will appear green or discoloured and clumps or scums could be visible.
  • It can also give off a strong musty or organic odour.
  • Algae may be toxic to humans and animals.
  • Contact with or use of water from red alert areas should be avoided due to the risk of eye and skin irritation.
  • Drinking untreated or boiled water from these supplies can cause stomach upsets.
  • Alternative water supplies should be sought or activated carbon treatment employed to remove toxins.
  • People should not fish when an algal scum is present.
  • Owners should keep dogs away from high alert areas and provide alternative watering points for stock.

Blue-green algae may be multiplying, and the water may have a green tinge and musty or organic taste and odour.

The water should be considered as unsuitable for potable use and alternative supplies or prior treatment of raw water for domestic purposes should be considered.

The water may also be unsuitable for stock watering.

Generally suitable for water sports, however people are advised to exercise caution in these areas, as blue-green algal concentrations can rise to red alert levels quickly under warm, calm weather conditions.

Blue-green algae occur naturally at low numbers.

At these concentrations, algae would not normally be visible, however some species may affect taste and odour of water even at low numbers and does not pose any problems for recreational, stock or household use.