Good water quality is vital for the health of humans and our ecosystem. Water quality is mainly affected by pollution, poor land use and unsatisfactory management practices.
Nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen are a major cause of freshwater algal blooms which can degrade waterways and restrict its use. Nutrient pollution is often caused by sediment problems as nutrients such as phosphorous often enter the waterway attached to sediment particles. This means that erosion caused by the loss of vegetation and range of land uses is likely to be a major source of nutrients. Other sources include sewage discharges and overflows and intensive livestock industries.
Turbidity is a measure of how many sediment particles have entered into a waterway. Liverpool’s waterways naturally have a high level of turbidity due to clay based soils. The particles are readily transported into streams during storms where they remain suspended in the water. This natural level of turbidity however has increased by the amount of sediment entering the waterways after land clearing. A high level of turbidity limits the amount of light available for plant growth and animals to function.
Additionally, a wide range of toxicants, including hydrocarbons, trace metals, pesticides and herbicides are entering our waterways and their long term effects are still unclear.
An increased effort is required to improve water quality. Council is working to mitigate the potential impacts of water pollution through good land use planning, whilst developing a new monitoring program. The new monitoring program will help Council assess whether water quality targets are being met and the results will be vital in determining the success of measures to improve water quality and will enable Council to identify further priorities and actions.
You can also play a part in helping to improve the water quality of our local waterways by:
- Not using the sink to dispose of harmful materials such as oils and grease, medicines and other chemicals;
- Composting food scraps or putting them in the bin rather than washing them down the sink;
- Using washing detergents with low or no phosphorous and using them in small amounts;
- Washing cars on the lawn or at a car wash where the water is recycled;
- Cleaning up animal waste and disposing of it in the bin.