The Campaspe River is an inland intermittent river in north-central Victoria. It forms part of the Murray Darling Basin. The headwaters of the Campaspe River rise on the northern slopes of the Great Dividing Range and descend to flow north into the Murry River, Australia’s longest river. Water quality monitoring of the Campaspe River is essential to the ongoing health of this beautiful river system.
The Campaspe River’s health has been severely affected by a range of factors including the construction of reservoirs, the clearing of native vegetation, farming and urban development. Recent platypus studies find numbers have greatly diminished and poor water quality continues to stress local wildlife. Toxic algae blooms now routinely afflict the popular tourist destinations of Turpins Falls and Lake Eppalock.
In a healthy water body, the water quality supports a rich and varied community of organisms, sustains public health and/or agricultural applications.
To adequately assess the condition of a river, numerous factors are taken into account, including the importance of the water body as an ecosystem or a resource. This involves thinking about the environmental values that are to be protected:
- maintenance of aquatic ecosystems (eg flows that help to keep rivers healthy)
- drinking water
- primary industries including irrigation, livestock and aquaculture
- recreational uses (eg swimming or boating) and aesthetics (visual appearance and enjoyment).
In addition, a number of parameters and indicators are commonly assessed, providing a good overall assessment of river condition. Parameters include, pH, electrical conductivity, temperature and dissolved oxygen.
Monitoring the health of the Campaspe River is critical in formulating catchment management strategies targeting water quality improvement. Recently, the local community engaged Bio2lab to install real-time water quality monitoring devices into the Campaspe River. To assess the condition of the Campaspe River in real-time, go to the online dashboard to see current and historical water quality data.
The dashboard can issue alerts when the condition of the waterway deteriorates or when the parameters measured go beyond acceptable thresholds. Community members could then alert environmental authorities (EPA) whenever river conditions have declined or could even investigate themselves. Sort of like Neighbourhood Watch for the Campaspe.
To fund the monitoring program, the local community set up a crowd funding page found here
The real-time water quality dashboard can be found at this link