News

Blue-green algae warning woes

By Yarrawonga Chronicle

A blue-green algae alert issued by authorities last week for Lake Mulwala and the Murray River downstream for the Yarrawonga Weir has resulted in a quieter than usual waterway. 

Popular waterpark Aquazone remains closed until further notice and many recreational swimmers and waterskiing enthusiasts are choosing to say out of the water.

The public are being warned to avoid direct contact with water in Yarrawonga Weir/Lake Mulwala after Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) monitoring detected high levels of blue-green algae (BGA) last week. 

In addition, WaterNSW has issued a caution for the Murray River downstream of Lake Mulwala to Tocumwal, as harmful concentrations of BGA may be present. 

Increased water monitoring is being undertaken at sites along the River Murray as BGA levels continue to fluctuate. It is hoped more rain and cooler temperatures will assist is reducing the algae and the alert will be lifted soon.  

In the meantime warning signs will be positioned at major recreational areas around Lake Mulwala and will remain in place while high levels of BGA are present. 

Lake Mulwala will not be closed to the public.  Visitors to the lake can still sightsee and enjoy other activities at Lake Mulwala that do not involve direct contact with the water. 

BGA occur naturally in waterbodies. They contain toxins that are harmful to humans and animals. 

Characteristic signs of algae contact are skin rashes or itchiness; sore eyes, ears and nose; or if swallowed, nausea or vomiting. 

GMW recommends: 

People and pets avoid contact with the water. 

People who come into contact with affected water should wash affected skin immediately in clean cold water. 

Seeking an alternative water supply for stock and pets where possible. 

Do not use affected water for cooking, drinking, washing or showering. Boiling the affected water will not make it safe for these purposes. 

Reading GMW’s fact sheet and other information on blue green algae at GMW’s blue-green algae webpage (https://www.g-mwater.com.au/news/bga) to be informed of the risks. 

It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels. 

GMW is continuing to monitor the situation in consultation with WaterNSW. 

Keep up-to-date with current BGA warnings at https://www.g-mwater.com.au/news/bga or by phoning 1800 013 357 and selecting the option for BGA information. 

Water supplied by GMW is not suitable for human consumption without first being properly treated. 

Human consumption includes showering, bathing, washing, cooking, ice making and drinking. 

For more information about BGA and your health, visit health.vic.gov.au or phone Nurse-On-Call on 1300 60 60 24.