How WaterNSW manages algal blooms

Our role

Testing and notifying about blue-green algae

WaterNSW is responsible for testing for, and notifying about, blue-green algal blooms in the river systems and storages that we manage.

Algae are a natural feature of aquatic environments. While most algae are harmless, some types of cyanobacteria are not. Although commonly referred to as blue-green algae, cyanobacteria are actually photosynthetic bacteria that live in water. Cyanobacteria can produce toxins that can pose risk to livestock and cause public health issues for humans. The only way to tell if algae are harmful is to take a sample and analyse it in a laboratory.

Blue-green algal blooms can cause waters to be unsafe for recreation in both freshwater and marine water environments. Algal alerts are issued by Regional Algal Coordinating Committees (RACCs) who are responsible for local management of algal blooms.

WaterNSW's role in algae management

  • Co-ordinate and support Regional Algal Co-ordinating Committees (RACCs).
  • Contribute to the State Algal Advisory Group (SAAG).
  • Contribute to the Regional Algal Management Guidelines.
  • Manage algal communications including hotline, media enquiries, website and briefings to Minister.
  • Monitor rivers and storages to service those aspects of the RACC’s reporting requirements, in accordance with the RACC Guidelines and WaterNSW Service Provision Deed.

How WaterNSW manages algal blooms

WaterNSW's algae management actions

  • Coordinate algal monitoring and public information (media and web based information) in surface waterways and storages where no other management organisation has a role.
  • Liaise with other agencies affected by algal blooms to ensure that an integrated risk management approach is taken.
  • Perform a knowledge broker role and facilitate communication between regional stakeholders and the State Algal Advisory Group (SAAG).
  • Identify knowledge gaps and encourage research to provide new information to enhance algal monitoring and management.
  • Co-ordinate and manage regular algal information on behalf of stakeholders and ensure that water users and other stakeholders are informed.

Make an Algae report

Have you spotted an algal bloom?

You can learn more about algae in our Education - Algae section.


Algal contacts

Regional Algal Coordination in NSW

Central and North West (Barwon, Macquarie and Far West)

  • Algal Coordinator, Tracy Fulford – (02) 6763 3910 (Tamworth)

Coastal (Metropolitan and South Coast, Hunter and North Coast)

  • Algal Coordinator, Shashika Korotta-Gamage - 0499 718 489 (Parramatta)

Murray and Lower Darling (Murray and Sunraysia)

  • Algal Coordinator, Elizabeth Symes – (02) 6022 5326 (Albury)

South West (Lachlan and Murrumbidgee)

  • Algal Coordinator, Gerhard Schulz – (03) 5898 3948 (Deniliquin)

If the above are not available contact Ramen Charan, Water Quality Services Manager on (02) 9865 2546.

To report suspected algal blooms at all other times, an email can be sent to with details and any available photos of the suspected bloom. A WaterNSW RACC coordinator will respond to your enquiry at the earliest opportunity.

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