Blue-green algae bloom on the move again

[Australia] Stage two water restrictions will be introduced to Colac and Lorne just before Easter.

Barwon Water said the water restrictions would also include surrounding towns and would start on March 24.

“The restrictions are in response to persistent low rainfall and declining storage levels,” Barwon Water said.

“The Colac and Lorne supply systems are particularly vulnerable to dry conditions due to the relatively small capacity of their reservoirs that drain quickly during periods of high demand. Fortunately, these storages also recover quickly when it rains.”

Meanwhile, stage four water restrictions have been eased to stage two in 10 southern Mallee towns.

Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water late yesterday eased restrictions back to stage two, which will allow people to water garden beds with hand held hoses anytime.

Stage two restrictions now apply in Berriwillock, Chinkapook, Chillingollah, Culgoa, Lalbert, Manangatang, Nullawil, Sea Lake, Ultima, and Waitchie.

Key Wimmera Mallee pipeline pumps at Pental Island, Piangil and Nyah remain open although blue-green algae levels are rising on the surface of the Murray River.

The restrictions will help water authorities conserve water supplies if the pumps have to be switched off at short notice.

Official warning: A blue-green algae red alert has been declared on this stretch of Murray River at Murrabit. Picture: Victorian Government
Official warning: A blue-green algae red alert has been declared on this stretch of Murray River at Murrabit. Picture: Victorian Government

The algae bloom extended a further 30 km downstream in the Murray River this week.

The toxic bloom officially stretches from above Lake Hume to Murrabit.

The bloom had not progressed beyond Koondrook/Barham for more than a week, leading some people to hope the bloom was dissipating.

Testing earlier in the week discovered elevated levels of algae at Murrabit which has triggered a red alert in that section of the river as well.

Murrabit is about 50km upstream of Swan Hill but about 30km from Pental Island where key water pumps that supply the Wimmera Mallee pipeline are located.

The Pental Island pumps were switched off several weeks ago but were switched on against last week.

Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water yesterday said the pumps at Pental Island, Nyah and Piangil remained open.

GWMW said: “Surface level readings from the Murray River at Pental Island are beginning to increase and this could impact on the Pental Island offtake, which is below the surface, anytime soon”.

Rural customers have been warned to ensure their on farm storages remain full.

 

Photo: Aerial view: The blue-green algae outbreak at Echuca as pictured by a Victorian emergency services helicopter. Picture: Victorian Government.

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