Water Quality

Goulburn-Murray Water’s statutory functions are to manage the major headworks, irrigation supply and drainage systems, surface water diversions and groundwater in its region. Goulburn-Murray Water also promotes best practice land use and development within the catchments to its storages for water quality and biodiversity purposes.

In addition to its statutory responsibilities, Goulburn-Murray Water, in partnership with other catchment management authorities, aims to protect, maintain and enhance an extensive network of waterways throughout the North East, Goulburn-Broken, North Central and Mallee catchment management areas.

Goulburn-Murray Water is responsible for the management of blue-green algae in its storages and is the convening agency for regional blue-green algal bloom management. Goulburn-Murray Water undertakes regular water quality monitoring within its storages and drainage systems, contributes to the Victorian Water Quality Monitoring Network, is developing storage management plans for each of its storages and is active in state and national research and development programs. Goulburn-Murray Water also works closely with its catchment management partners such as the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Department of Primary Industries, Environment Protection Authority and Catchment Management Authorities to discuss and manage ongoing and emerging water quality and natural resource management issues.


Reminder of water quality risks

Goulburn-Murray Water reminds water users in northern Victoria to be on the lookout for changes in water quality due to varying weather conditions.  Storms or rainfall events, and spells of hot weather may cause changes in water quality in natural water bodies and the Corporation's irrigation systems.

Storms and rainfall events can wash leaves, branches, litter and sediment into streams and affect the quality of water supplies.

Discolouration of the water can occur, giving it an inky black appearance as well as producing a pungent earthy odour.  These odours may affect the amenity values of waterbodies.

Decomposing organic material also reduces the dissolved oxygen level in the water.  Highly turbid or muddy water can also reduce dissolved oxygen levels.  The flush of organic material may adversely affect fish, yabbies and other aquatic life. 

As rainfall carries nutrients into water bodies, a future spell of hot weather may also provide ideal conditions for blue‑green algae growth.

Toxic species of blue-green algae, when ingested, can be dangerous to the health of humans and animals.  All blue-green algal species produce skin irritants.  Depending on their level of contact with these algae, people could experience skin rashes, dermatitis, eye irritations or allergic reactions.

People drawing water directly from streams and rivers in the region or G-MW's irrigation system are advised to monitor their supply source and make alternative arrangements if water quality deteriorates.

G-MW customers are reminded that the water supplied by G-MW is untreated and is not suitable for drinking or food preparation. Untreated water should also not be used for purposes where skin contact occurs, such as showering.

 Black water at Boosey Creek    Loddon River blue-green algae outbreak