Blue-green algae warning for the Rochester Irrigation Area

Thursday 30 March, 2017

Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) is warning the public to avoid direct contact with water within the Rochester Irrigation Area channels and pipelines, including the Waranga Western Channel downstream of the Waranga Basin to the Loddon Weir, after monitoring detected high levels of blue-green algae.

GMW recommends water users from affected areas seek an alternative water supply where possible.

GMW recommends:

  • Wherever possible alternate water supplies should be used.
  • Untreated water should never be used for human consumption. For example drinking, cooking, showering, bathing and washing.
  • Boiling the affected water will not make it safe to use. Blue-green algae release toxins into the water when heated.
  • People should avoid contact with the water.
  • Stock and pets should be kept away from blue-green algae affected water.
  • Water can be used on gardens, however water should not be sprayed on vegetables and fruit.
  • Stock should be kept away from recently irrigated areas for at least seven days.
  • Reading GMW’s fact sheet and other information on blue green algae at GMW’s blue-green algae webpage (www.g-mwater.com.au/bluegreenalgae-alert)  to be informed of the risks. 

Blue-green algae occur naturally in waterbodies. They contain toxins that are harmful to humans and animals.  Characteristic signs of algae contact are skin rashes or itchiness; sore eyes, ears and nose; or if swallowed, nausea or vomiting.

It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels.

GMW is continuing to monitor the situation.

Keep up to date with current blue-green algae warnings at www.gmwater.com.au/bluegreenalgae-alert or phone the GMW blue-green algae hotline on 03 5826 3785.

Water supplied by GMW is not suitable for human consumption without first being properly treated.

For more information about blue-green algae and health, visit health.vic.gov.au or phone NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.

A blue-green algae warning also remains current for Waranga Basin, parts of the Central Goulburn and Loddon Valley Irrigation Areas, Lake Eppalock, Laanecoorie Reservoir, Tullaroop Reservoir, Hepburn Lagoon, Blampieds Lagoon and Gum Lagoon.