Is it okay? Check Yarra and Bay
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and Kidsafe Victoria have teamed up to encourage parents to check the water quality forecast before taking children swimming in Port Phillip Bay or the Yarra River this summer.
EPA’s twice-daily water quality forecasts will be published online at yarraandbay.vic.gov.au to help Victorians make informed decisions about where and when to swim.
The forecasts cover 36 Port Phillip Bay beaches and four reaches on the Yarra River, in partnership with Melbourne Water.
“We know Victorians love their beaches and generally, we enjoy good water quality in the Yarra and Bay but heavy rains can carry stormwater pollution to our favourite swim spots,” EPA Chief Environmental Scientist Dr Andrea Hinwood said.
“This urban soup may contain many substances you can see, such as broken glass, and many you can’t, such as bacteria which can cause gastro.
“This is why we’re calling on parents to ‘make sure it’s ok, check Yarra and Bay’.”
Forecasts are also posted on EPA Victoria’s Twitter page daily and displayed at 28 Life Saving Victoria clubs on weekends and public holidays.
Kidsafe Victoria President Erica Edmands said the yarraandbay.vic.gov.au provided an extremely valuable health resource for the tens of thousands of parents who take their children to the beach or river over summer.
“Knowing whether or not the water is safe is crucial information for all families visiting the beach,” she said.
Through yarraandbay.vic.gov.au beaches are rated as ‘Good’, ‘Fair’ or ‘Poor’. On Fair days, people should check for signs of pollution, such as discoloured water, odour, rubbish and stormwater drains flowing, before deciding whether or not to swim. On ‘Poor’ days, the water quality is not suitable for swimming.
The forecasts will run until March 11.
* Please note that it is illegal to swim in the Yarra downstream of Gipps Street, Abbotsford.