The Darling River at Burtundy in the Lower Darling Region is under a red alert level warning for blue-green algae growth, due to high temperatures and low river flows.
A red alert level warning indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water such as swimming, as well as domestic uses including showering and washing. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.
Locals have been advised not to enter the water, not to drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the river while this red alert level warning is in place. Town water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink.
Livestock owners are reminded to continue to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scum is visible or blue-green algae are suspected.
Blue-green algae occur naturally and can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients.
The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins.
It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels. Regular monitoring will continue, and the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of algae dissipate.
Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.
After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.