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Blue Green Algae

All warnings on this page are current. They will only be updated when the situation changes.

There are currently no BGA blooms
Blue Green Algae FAQs

What is blue green algae?
Blue green algae (BGA) occurs naturally in waterways, wetlands and water storages. It is a common seasonal occurrence in Victoria and a natural component of most aquatic systems, including streams, lakes, estuaries and the sea.

BGA can appear singularly or in colonies. The individual cells are very small, and can therefore be present without being visible.

Blooms can be triggered by nutrient levels, low inflows, lower storage volumes and warmer weather conditions.

Blooms can be unsightly, ranging in colour from dark-green to yellowish-brown. They may develop a paint-like consistency as they dry out and often have a pungent smell.

However, you may not always be able to see or smell BGA.

Agriculture Victoria has the following resources to help you manage your water to reduce the risk of BGA.

Blue green algae FAQ’s

BGA and irrigation water

Managing blue green algae in farm water

Is there any BGA in Southern Rural Water’s storages?/SRW monitors its storages to determine the suitability of the water for recreation and drinking purposes.

SRW advises the public of any BGA outbreaks in accordance with the guidelines in the BGA Circular produced by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

See the top of this page for current information on any outbreaks.

Can I drink the water in Southern Rural Water’s storages?
The water contained in our storages is raw water. Whether BGA is present or not, the water is not fit for human consumption without being properly treated.

You should not drink water containing BGA.

Can I boil water to remove BGA?
You should not boil water containing BGA.

Boiling the water will not remove the BGA and has the potential to release toxins into the air which could make you ill if you inhale them.

Can I swim in the water?
We recommend that you do not swim or undertake other water activities that could involve direct contact with the water (e.g. water skiing and jet skiing) at sites:

  • for which we have issued a Level 2 Recreation BGA warning
  • where warning signs have been erected, or
  • at sites where you believe BGA may be present (i.e. you can see or smell it).

How can BGA affect me?
BGA contains compounds that can irritate the skin. Whether you will react to them depends on a number of factors, as some people are naturally more sensitive than others.

Some BGAs are toxic and produce harmful chemicals. If these toxins are inhaled or consumed, or touch the skin, they can cause allergic reactions, skin and eye irritations, muscle tremors, gastroenteritis or damage to the liver.

What should I do if I come into contact with BGA?
If you come into direct contact with BGA, you should wash immediately in fresh water. If you experience a health issue you think is related to contact with water contaminated by BGA, please seek medical advice promptly.

What should I do if I drink water containing BGA?
You should seek medical advice if you have consumed water containing BGA.

Can my dog swim in or drink BGA-affected water?
Dogs can also be affected by BGA, so it is safer not to let them come into contact with water in areas:

  • for which we have issued a (Level 2 Recreation) BGA warning
  • where warning signs have been erected, or
  • at sites where you believe BGA may be present (i.e. you can see or smell it).

If your dog or any other animals comes into direct contact with BGA, you should wash them immediately in fresh water. Please seek veterinary advice for further information.

Can my livestock swim in or drink BGA affected water?
Livestock can also be affected by BGA. It is safer not to let them come in contact with water in areas:

  • for which we have issued a BGA warning
  • where warning signs have been erected, or
  • at sites where you believe BGA may be present (i.e. you can see or smell it).

SRW has established some specific guidelines for our irrigation customers, and will notify customers when BGA concentrations are at a level that could affect the health of livestock, crops and pastures.

When will the BGA disappear?
BGA can form and die quickly (i.e. in a matter of days.). It is difficult to predict when it will disappear. However, it tends to die off when it is cooler (e.g. cloudy/windy days).

What will Southern Rural Water do to remove the BGA?
It is very difficult to control a BGA outbreak, or remove it. There are no cost effective options to remove it from large water bodies.

Where Can I Get More Information?

For information about BGA in SRW’s storages, channels and drains you can:

  • call our BGA information line on 1300 781 806 for a recorded message detailing current blooms, or
  • call us on 1300 139 510, or
  • send us an email

Information regarding BGA in farm dams and agricultural information can be obtained from the Agriculture Victoria

Health information can be obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Southern Rural Water acknowledges and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and waters on which we work and live, and we respect their deep and ongoing connection to Country. For more about the First Nations peoples on whose Country we work, click here.