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Watching the water: Monitoring water quality in the catchments before it reaches the ocean

Monitoring water quality with a probe
Preparing the probe.

I’m proud to volunteer with Waterwatch. Waterwatch is “a national community water quality monitoring network that encourages all Australians to become active in the protection of their waterways”.

Probe sensor that measures water quality
The probe in action. Data is fed through the wire back to the control unit.

The rainwater that falls on my neighbourhood drains into, and is filtered through, a beautiful melaleuca swamp filled with paperbarks, reeds and sedges. From there, the water flows into an intermittent stormwater creek, then out to Lake Doonella, down the Noosa River, and out to the ocean. I monitor the water at the creek, which is less than 100 metres from our house.

monitoring water quality at a stormwater creek
My monitoring site: a local stormwater creek.

The Waterwatch monitoring equipment—a unit which gets passed from volunteer to volunteer—records the basic parameters required by aquatic and marine life: pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, turbidity, etc. In other words: it checks to see how clean and healthy the water is.

Writing data records monitoring water quality at a stormwater creek
Transcribing the data for HQ.

From the volunteer’s point of view, the monitoring costs nothing, requires very little training, and only takes 10-15 minutes each month. I highly recommend Waterwatch. As a marine biologist, I consider run-off to be one of the greatest threats to our coastal ecosystems. And, as a Waterwatch volunteer, I really enjoy the process of checking on my little patch. It’s a great reminder that all water flows to the sea, and if we can all do our bit to make sure it is clean, we will reap the rewards. Nothing helps underwater photography more than good visibility. And, as a keen surfer of the the most beautiful breaks in the world (I may be a little biased here), I really appreciate those crystal clear days… I’m happy to do my bit to make sure there are more of them.

Google Earth placemarks:
My local water monitoring location
Beautiful surf breaks around Noosa National Park


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12 years ago

No acid sulphate soils in your melaleuca swamp ?

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