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Published: 28 November 2019   •   Media release

A new water quality map was released today by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), providing a snapshot of the threats to water quality across the Murray–Darling Basin.

MDBA Executive Director of Science, Knowledge and Engagement, Carl Binning, said the map would be updated as required to share collective knowledge from Basin agencies on factors influencing water quality in local catchments.

"Water quality threats that we are likely to see in the coming months include higher salinity and nutrient levels, blue-green algae outbreaks and low oxygen levels," Mr Binning said.

"The areas on high alert for these threats include the Barwon–Darling, Lower Darling, Lower Lachlan, Lower Macquarie/Castlereagh/Bogan and the Namoi catchments.

"Communities, farmers and the environment are currently struggling with the impact of ongoing drought, and unfortunately the outlook is for continued dry conditions. Basin storage levels are low, with some northern Basin storages empty or near empty.

"Low rainfall across the Basin can have a severe impact on water quality – more fish deaths are likely this summer. While fish deaths and blue-green algae are naturally occurring events, careful monitoring and management by river managers can lessen their impact.

"We are working with our state government counterparts to carefully monitor water quality and adjust operations where possible."

New South Wales communities are reminded to report any fish death incidents or observations to the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536.  

The water quality map has been created in collaboration with several Basin state agencies who gather information and conduct on-ground monitoring, including the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment, NSW Fisheries, WaterNSW, the Victorian Department of Environment Land Water and Planning and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources Mining and Energy.

The water quality map is available on the MDBA website.

ENDS

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