Publication Details

O'Brien, G. A., O'Donnell, M. R. and Hutton, A. C. (2007). Water quality in the Wingecarribee Shire, NSW. Water Quality in the Illawarra-South Coast Region of New South Wales (pp. 93-105). University of Wollongong: University of Wollongong.


This paper reports on a water quality monitoring program carried out for Wingecarribee Shire Council between March 2002 and July 2004 by University of Wollongong staff and students. Initially 40 sites were sampled on four occasions over three months in a pilot program leading to the selection of sites and parameters for a two year program of monthly monitoring. A range of chemical, physical and biological parameters was measured including nutrients and faecal coliform bacteria on samples collected over the 26 approximately monthly sampling trips. Chlorophyll a, phaeophyton and blue-green algae were also determined over a shorter period. The sampling period included the particularly hot and dry spell September 2002 - January 2003 and a return to less extreme conditions after February 2003. The range of nutrient and coliform data is reported with discussion of the effects of rainfall patterns on nutrients and on faecal coliform counts at the various sites. Small creek sites showed significant changes to nutrient regimes in the long dry spell, whereas the same effect was not apparent in larger river sites. Very wide ranges of faecal coliform counts were found, especially at small creek sites in farmland. Excepting extreme results, generally elevated coliform counts were found when rainfall occurred 0-3 days immediately prior to sampling. Generally lower counts were found in drier weather. The Shire has already implemented some measures to improve water quality in response to this program.