Friends of the Earth releases report on water quality issues for Ballarat, Bendigo and Benalla

Friends of the Earth have released a report regarding water quality issues in Ballarat, Bendigo and Benalla.


Key findings of the report show that Ballarat had several times the breaches of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) that were recorded for Bendigo and Benalla combined.

There are public forums in Ballarat (Tuesday May 25) & Bendigo (Thurs May 27).

PUBLIC FORUMS:

Ballarat Water Forum


While the problems seems endless, from water quality issues to climate change, really sustainable solutions are beginning to gain prominence in Ballarat.

Hear about recent research into Ballarat water quality, find out how our climate and water catchments have changed over hundreds of years and discover and debate solutions to providing sustainable and secure water sources for Ballarat.

Tuesday 25 May 7:00pm

Ballarat Secondary College, Barkly St Campus Lecture Theatre

Speakers:

  • Anthony Amis - Friends of the Earth
  • Cam Walker - Friends of the Earth
  • Professor Peter Gell - University of Ballarat
  • Doug Lloyd and Tony Chew - Committee for Ballarat
  • Marcus Ward - Greens candidate for Western Victoria


Water is the biggest issue of concern to many people in Ballarat and the region. The Greens are pleased to co-host this forum with Friends of the Earth, bringing together some great minds, research and practical solutions.

 

Bendigo

Thursday May 27: 7pm-9pm
Latrobe Univeristy Visual Arts Centre, 121 View Street, Bendigo, Vic, 3550.

Speakers:

  • Anthony Amis - Friends of the Earth - Water Quality Report
  • Wendy Radford - Bendigo Greens - Greens Water Policies
  • David Jones - Coliban/Campaspe Catchment Management Issues
  • Cam Walker - Friends of the Earth - Climate Change and Water


For further information, please contact Cam Walker cam.walker@foe.org.au

***PRESS RELEASE Thursday May 6 2010***

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH RELEASES REPORT ON WATER QUALITY ISSUES FOR BALLARAT, BENDIGO AND BENALLA

Friends of the Earth today released a report regarding water quality issues in Ballarat, Bendigo and Benalla. The report mainly focuses on the years 2005-2010 and the impacts of drought on water quality.

Key findings of the report show that Ballarat had several times the breaches of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) that were recorded for Bendigo and Benalla combined.

"Issues in Ballarat relate mainly to aesthetic problems, however lead in drinking water appears to be a problem in the supply network. Ballarat Central has also breached the ADWG for lead at least once in the past two years.

Blue Green Algae has been detected in Ballarat and Bendigo storages, as has Manganese, which escalated due to drought conditions.

There appears to be an inadequate range of tests conducted by Central Highlands Water and Coliban Water for agricultural pesticides currently used in the region. Friends of the Earth estimates that there could be almost 60 pesticides of high risk to water quality used in the Ballarat water supplies and almost 40 pesticides used in the Bendigo supply, yet only a fraction of these are actually tested for by water authorities.

Pesticides are also not properly tested for at Lake Nagambie/Goulburn Weir, Waranga Basin and Waranga Western Channel. Bendigo and Ballarat are now connected to these waterways via the Gold Fields Superpipe. Traces of Endosulfan and Atrazine were detected by Goulburn Murray Water between 2004-6, yet testing has not continued, despite Bendigo and Ballarat now sourcing water from this this location since August 2007 and May 2008 respectively. Weed control in Lake Nagambie itself may also pose a risk of pesticide pollution.

“The Goldfields Superpipe has been a short term fix to the water supply issues of Ballarat and Bendigo, with a crisis narrowly averted particularly between April 2007 and April 2008. However, the question remains, how reliable will water supplies be in times of climate change across northern and central Victoria? Lake Eildon (the Goulburn's largest storage) dropped as low as 5% in May 2007,” said Friends of the Earth researcher Anthony Amis.

Puckapunyal Military base may be a very large source of turbidity into the Goulburn System, particularly in times of heavy rain.

Plantations in water supplies may be costing more in terms of lost water yield than the timber harvested from those plantations. Native forest logging in the headwaters of the Goulburn System is also impacting of quantity of water that flows down the Goulburn River.

For further information contact Anthony Amis on (03) 9419 8700 or 0425 841 564

Information sessions about the report will be held in Ballarat on Tuesday May 25 and Bendigo on May 27. 

Copies of the report can be downloaded at;  http://www.foe.org.au/resources/research-papers/water/water%20report..pd...