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Published: 19 March 2010   •   Media release

Murray Regional Algal Coordinating Committee

New results received today by the Murray and Sunraysia Regional Algal Coordinating Committees has a shown a reduction in the numbers of potentially toxic blue green algae in some sections of the Murray River.

Spokesperson for the combined RACCs Owen Russell, said that the red alert can be down graded to an amber alert for the stretch of Murray River from Albury to Howlong and from the Torrumbarry Weir to Barham.

"The red alert remains for the Hume Dam and for the Murray River from Howlong to Echuca- Moama, for the Murray River at Swan Hill , Euston and Robinvale for the Edward River from Deniliquin to Moulmein and for Lake Mulwala."

Mr Russell said that the red alert also continues for the Mulwala Canal off-take and for the Wakool River at Kyalite and has been reinstated for the Gulpa Creek at Mathoura.

The Mulwala Canal at Finley has been downgraded to an amber alert level.

Mr Russell said that red alert indicates that waters are unsuitable for recreational use or primary contact by domestic users and may also pose a threat to livestock and domestic animals.

"The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact," he said.

Town water supply authorities are treating town water supplies with powdered activated carbon for both NSW and Victorian consumers; however, raw water drawn from these areas should be avoided for all purposes.

Boiling the water does not inactivate algal toxins," said Mr Russell.

"Many parts of the Murray River are still safe for recreational water-based and land-based activities and holiday makers are advised to check with the local tourism authority.

Information updates about blue-green algae blooms and red alert areas can be obtained from the Regional Algal Coordinating Committee freecall Algal Information Hotline on 1800 999 457 or visit www.water.nsw.gov.au

Photo: IOJ Aerial Photography

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