Algae in the water?

THE weather is heating up and so is the temptation to hit the water.

But swimmers and holiday-makers have been warned to be on the look-out for blue-green algae, which can cause health problems for humans and livestock.

SunWater is advising people using its dams over the coming months that warmer weather during spring and summer could lead to increases in blue green algae (BGA) blooms.

A SunWater spokesman said BGA was commonly found in most large water storages across Queensland each year.

“BGA blooms are not uncommon at this time of year and occur in varying volumes depending on climate, season and storage location,” the spokesman said.

“As part of SunWater's Environmental Management System, our environmental officers regularly monitor BGA levels in our major storages across Queensland and advise the public of any risks through storage hazard signage and public notices in local newspapers.

“There are many contaminants in addition to BGA that can find their way into water storages from various activities in the catchment, making the water unsuitable for drinking purposes.

“Water used for domestic purposes, such as showering or bathing can cause skin rashes and other health problems.

“Eating fish and crabs caught in dams that have higher than normal BGA levels can also pose a risk and people are advised not to consume those foodstuffs.

“Graziers are also advised that there is also a risk for livestock who may be grazing near water storages that contain high levels of BGA,” he said.

The spokesman said SunWater regularly updated its BGA hazard signs at all its dam sites so that people visiting for recreational swimming, skiing, fishing or camping activities are informed of any potential risks.

“The risk of encountering BGA blooms will be listed as a low, moderate or high and we ask that the public take the necessary precautions when visiting our dams,” he said.

People can log on to http://www.sunwater.com.au/environment_bga.htm or call the local SunWater office to find the latest hazard advisories.



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