The Werribee River Association is part of Waterwatch, which is a citizen science program for monitoring waterway health. Since 2008, we have been collecting monthly water quality data from Bungey’s Hole, Werribee.
Water quality is a key attribute of aquatic ecosystems and is an important part of any river health assessment, responding to both natural processes and human disturbance. Physical, chemical, and biological factors can be used to determine water quality. Physical properties include recording temperature and turbidity; chemical characteristics incorporate collecting pH, dissolved oxygen levels, nitrogen, and phosphorus, whilst biological indicators comprise sampling for algae, phytoplankton, and aquatic invertebrates.
In 2018, the WRA commissioned a report to analyse water quality data in the Werribee River catchment to provide an overview of the current and long-term water quality in the region. The middle and lower reaches of the Werribee River catchment displayed the poorest water quality with values for electrical conductivity, turbidity, and nitrogen and phosphorus, being exceeded at many sites. The Werribee River catchment has been highly modified and impacts from intensive agriculture and urbanisation appear to be affecting water quality. Likely inputs include sediments and nutrients from agricultural activities and urbanisation. Extraction of water from the catchment is also likely to be degrading the waterway. The exception to this was the Lerderderg River, located in the upper catchment and least affected by human activities.
Download the full Werribee River Water Quality Report