Community water monitoring

The Community Surface Water Quality Monitoring Project evolved from the national Waterwatch program of the 1990s.

Schools, individuals and community groups have been assessing the health of waterways in the SA Murray-Darling Basin region for over 20 years. The aims of this monitoring have been to get a better picture of water quantity and quality across the region, to monitor the effects of riparian revegetation projects and other land management practices, to form part of property Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and for education purposes.

Participants have been measuring various indicators of waterway health indicators including nitrates, phosphates, turbidity, salinity (EC), and macroinvertebrate (water bug) identification. The monitoring protocols are relatively simple but can still give an indication of differences within a catchment and changes over time. If the health of a site appears to be deteriorating and trigger levels of various parameters are reached, this tells us that further investigation (for example by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA)) may be warranted.

This project provides loan equipment and training in monitoring methods. We have an on-line database for people to enter their data to allow for easy information management and sharing. The results are also sent to the Bureau of Meteorology and become part of a national water resource database.

The community collected water quality monitoring data is also being analysed and reported back to the community through reports for each catchment.

We are always looking for new participants and new sites to improve our monitoring of the health of waterways across the region

If you would like to be involved please contact Sylvia Clarke.

If you are particularly interested in assisitng with macroinvertebrate identification we have produced this instructional video on the standard sampling method.


Related links

More information

  • Project Officer, Community Monitoring/Citizen Science
    Cnr Mann and Walker Streets, Mount Barker SA 5251
    08 8391 7500
    sylvia.clarke@sa.gov.au