River water quality assessment
The Department of Water assesses and monitors water quality as an essential part of managing our water resources and protecting the environment.
Water quality is routinely assessed in many rivers around the state. This provides us with important information on the status of these waterways and can help us target our management actions. We also use the information to build an understanding as to how waterways function and how nutrients and other contaminants behave over time (seasonal changes and long-term trends). Variables that are regularly assessed include nutrient concentrations, temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and total suspended solids.
Changes in water quality
Changes in water quality can have a detrimental effect on rivers. For example, higher than natural levels of nutrients can allow algae to grow to nuisance levels, causing algal blooms. When these blooms collapse and decompose they can consume oxygen from the water, which may cause fish kills. Some contaminants, such as herbicides and pesticides, can be toxic to the plants and animals found in rivers. Changes to water quality can also impact animals in less obvious ways, such as affecting growth and reproduction, which can have long term effects on river and estuarine health.
Statewide River Water Quality Assessment
The Statewide River Water Quality Assessment uses water quality information to determine the status and trends of nine key water quality parameters for all waterways in the state, where consistent data is available. Water quality at various river sampling sites was classified for total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), total suspended solids (TSS), total dissolved salts (TDS), dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations, along with pH, turbidity and colour readings.
The project was undertaken by the Water Science Branch in 1999, 2004 and 2008. A total of 231 and 255 sites were included in the 2004 and 2008 assessments respectively. The data is a snapshot of the most recent three-year period for status, and five-year period for trends.
Access your local water quality data
Community members and regional bodies are encouraged to access this site to learn about the quality of the water in their area. The website is intended to provide an indication of the quality of the water in a stream or river, for those who do not require the actual dataset.
Riverine water quality data is available via the department's Water Information Reporting (WIR) tool.
Click here to access the Statewide River Water Quality Assessment.