Update Blue-green algae Red Alert for lower Murray River


5 January, 2021

WaterNSW is advising that an additional red alert (high alert) for toxic  blue-green algae is now in place for the lower Murray River that includes the stretch of river from Red Cliffs to Mildura inclusive.


A pre-existing red alert level warning remains in place for Wentworth.


This latest declaration of a red alert follows testing undertaken by local water authorities. Levels of blue green algae in other sections of the river continue to fluctuate.


A red alert level warning indicates that people should avoid contact with the water. People should not undertake recreational activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water.


Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock, and pets. The cyanobacteria detected may produce a strong musty odour.


People are advised not to enter the water, not to drink untreated water or use the water for other domestic purposes, including cooking and showering/bathing in untreated water while a red alert level warning is in place. Boiling the water will not remove algal toxins.


People should not eat mussels or crayfish from red alert warning areas. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption.


Blue-green algae usually appear as green paint-like scums on the water, near the edges, or as greenish clumps throughout the water. It makes the water appear dirty, green or discoloured and generally has a strong musty or earthy odour.


Blue-green algae occur naturally and can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients.


It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels. Regular monitoring will continue, and the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of algae dissipate.


People who believe they may have been affected by blue-green algae are advised to seek medical advice.


Updates about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be obtained by calling 1800 999 457 or visiting – http://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae


General inquires – Elizabeth Symes – 0439 199 077

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478