Blue-green algae Red Alert for Windamere Dam - downstream

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Windamere Dam - downstream

28 February 2019

A Red Alert warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for downstream Windamere Dam, located in the Central West region 30km south-east of Mudgee.

A Red Alert level warning indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may come into direct contact with the water, such as swimming, as well as domestic uses including showering and washing.

Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.

Windamere Dam is fitted with a variable level off-take, and WaterNSW staff are adjusting the off-take in an effort to reduce the levels of blue-green algae entering Cudgegong River below the dam.

However, stock and domestic users of this water should apply a high level of caution and use alternate water supplies. Regular monitoring will continue, and the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of algae dissipate.

People are advised not to enter the water, not to drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the dam while this Red Alert level warning is in place. Town water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink.

Livestock owners are reminded to continue to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scum is visible or blue-green algae are suspected. 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.

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 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.

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

Red Alert warning lifted for Windamere Dam - upstream

While the Red Alert for blue-green algae has been issued downstream of Windamere Dam, the Red Alert warning that was previously in place at Windamere Dam, upstream of Mudgee, has now been lifted.

Monitoring conducted by WaterNSW has shown that concentrations of blue-green algae have decreased in this part of the Dam.

While on an Amber Alert the water is generally considered suitable for water sports, but water users are still advised to exercise caution. It is advised not to drink untreated or boiled water from the storage due to the risk of stomach upsets.

Water users should use personal discretion at all times before entering a water body and be aware that algal situations can change quickly.

Boiling the water does not inactivate algae toxins.

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

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478

General inquiries – Tracy Fulford – 02 6763 3910

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