Beachgoers in the know

Surf life saving

A new water quality forecasting signage service has begun at six bayside beaches this year as part of the Victorian Government’s A Cleaner Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay – A Plan of Action.

EPA Victoria CEO John Merritt said that after a successful trial earlier this year, the partnership between EPA and Life Saving Victoria (LSV) ensures beachgoers are better informed by having faster access to key water quality information. 

“Beachgoers at Altona, St Kilda, Elwood, Mentone, Mordialloc and Frankston, will now be able to get up to date, localised water quality information while they’re actually at the beach,” Mr Merritt said. “Further to this, in January 2014, Seaford, Half Moon Bay, Sandridge, and Beaumaris beaches will be added to the program.

“We are committed to developing easier ways for the community to access information about the Yarra and Port Phillip Bay’s water quality and this is one of our latest initiatives.  

“Forecasts, updated twice a day and reported online, are based on beach monitoring data, predicted weather conditions, weekly samples, pollution and other events such as algal blooms and fish deaths.” 

Lifesavers will be provided with mobile internet access to allow them to receive regular updates, as well as an information sheet with general water quality information and detailed explanation of factors affecting water quality for their use at each of the participating beaches.

Large signs will be displayed during patrol hours and may be updated at 3pm in line with the forecast. 

LSV Lifesaving Operations Manager Greg Scott says this partnership with EPA is part of Life Saving Victoria’s holistic approach to achieving its mission to prevent aquatic related death and injury in all Victorian communities. 

“Poor water quality can affect health and become a safety issue for swimmers,” said Mr Scott. 

“Our lifesavers and lifeguards are the faces you see on the beach and the natural go-to for people who have questions about water safety, so it is great to be able to equip them with information and signage to better inform the public about water quality.”