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2014-15 Summer Highlights Report

The Yarra River is widely used for recreational activities such as boating and swimming throughout summer.* Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) in partnership with Melbourne Water runs the Yarra Watch program, which forecasts and monitors recreational water quality at four sites along the Yarra River – Kew, Warrandyte, Healesville and Launching Place. The summer season runs from 1 December until Victoria’s Labour Day Weekend (ending 9 March in 2015).

*Please note that it is illegal to swim in the Yarra downstream of Gipps Street, Abbotsford. Kew at Chandler Highway Bridge is the only Yarra Watch site in the Lower Yarra where it is legal to swim.

 

How did swimming spots along the Yarra perform?

Location

Objective 

Launching Place

 

Healesville 

 

Warrandyte 

 ✓✓

Kew 

 




 

 

Water quality at Kew, Warrandyte and Healesville met our end-of-season water quality objectives for swimming.

Warrandyte had the best water quality for swimming.

Launching Place was the only site that did not meet the objectives this summer. This location had higher bacterial levels, which could be related to stormwater runoff. We did not find any other specific pollution sources there, but we will continue to monitor the site closely next summer.

Yarra River water quality is improving

Yarra River sites: swimming quality objectives and trends.

 

Swimming objectives met? 2013–14 

Swimming objectives met? 2014–15 

Water Quality Trend 

Launching Place 

 

 

 Improving

Healesville 

 

 

 Improving

Warrandyte 

  

 

 No change

Kew 

 

 

 Improving

Water quality in the Yarra River has improved this season, with more swimming sites becoming safer for swimming.

This season we found less bacteria (E. coli) at all swimming spots, with particular improvements seen at Healesville and Launching Place.

What information do we gather about the Yarra River?

The information we report on the Yarra and Bay website and through Twitter includes the following:

  • Water quality forecasts
    • Reported twice daily.
    • Forecasts of ‘Good’, ‘Fair’, or ‘Poor’ are given for each location.
    • Based on: weather forecasts, observations and warnings; water quality history; and weekly water sampling results.
  • Weekly water quality monitoring
    • Samples are analysed for the presence of E. coli bacteria, which indicates that water may not be safe for recreational use.
    • If it’s not considered safe to swim, the public are notified on the website and Twitter.
    • EPA works with local councils and water authorities to investigate the source of water pollution.
    • These samples are used to assess whether the site has met the end-of-season water quality objectives for swimming.
  • Alerts about pollution incidents, fish deaths and algal blooms
    • Water quality alerts are given all year round.

Pollution can be reported at any time to EPA on 1300 372 842.  

What influenced water quality and forecasts this summer?

Weather events impacting Yarra River water quality