Funded by the ACT Government, this project employs a part-time Waterwatch Coordinator for southern ACT. This person has the job of supporting the Waterwatch volunteers with supplies of analytical apparatus and chemicals, with training, with collecting, sorting and passing on the volunteers observations and with providing feed-back to the volunteers and the SACTCG committee on the state of local waterways.

The coordinator also has the task of publicising the activities of the volunteers and increasing public awareness of water health issues. For this purpose the Waterwatch Coordinator supports the SACTCG website with a monthly report and seasonal catchment updates. Importantly, the Coordinator presents the SACTCG, and the citizens of southern Canberra, with a report on the waterways in the catchment area which summarises the work of the volunteers.

The Waterwatch Coordinator also is involved in environmental education in the catchment, presenting schools visits on Waterwatch issues, and contributing to holiday education programs associated with Community Libraries and Community Centres.

 

The Waterwatch Volunteers

Stefan, Sam and Micheala bugging

Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch (UMWW) is a program of volunteers who look out for the health of the waterways of the most of Upper Murrumbidgee catchment in the Murray Darling Basin(MDB). Here in the Southern ACT, ‘Waterwatchers’ monitor the health of the diverse range of waterways in our region. They measure water quality monthly and have the opportunity to assist with spring and autumn water bug counts and standardised Rapid Assessment of Riparian Condition (RARC) habitat assessments. Their work culminates to produce the Southern ACT Catchment Group’s contribution to the Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch’s ‘Catchment Health Indicator Program’ (CHIP) annual report.

The Waterwatch Coordinator

Southern ACT Catchment Group Inc. (SACTCG) employs a part time Waterwatch (WW) Coordinator to fulfil its contractual obligations to the ACT government to deliver the UMWW program in the southern A.C.T. In addition, other duties have been undertaken as instructed by the SACTCG Executive Officer in line with additional funding allocation by the SACTCG.

Waterwatch Activities

Water quality monitoring

(Monthly): All eight major sub-catchments of the southern ACT are monitored for water quality by volunteers. This includes;

o   Murrumbidgee River o   Cotter River
o   Naas River o   Gudgenby River
o   Paddy’s River
o   Point Hut Ponds
o   Lake Tuggeranong
o   Guises Creek
   

In addition, the following are monitored as part of these catchment systems;

  • Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
  • Namadji National Park
  • Stranger Pond
  • Conder Wetlands
  • Cooleman Ridge Nature Park
  • Westwood Farm
  • Goodwin Village pond
  • Tuggeranong Creek Stormwater system
  • Other tributaries of the 5 major rivers

Volunteers upload data to the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) database by the end of the month. All water quality data uploaded by volunteers is cleared by the WW Coordinator by the end of the following month.

Abnormal water quality readings/events were reported to relevant agencies. 

Waterbug Surveying

(Autumn and Spring): SACTCG WW volunteers and school groups assist with the implementation of both the autumn and spring ‘Bug Blitz’ events.  Key waterbug sites in each of our reaches are monitored.

Waterway Habitat Assessments

(Biennially): Habitat assessments are conducted at all Waterwatch sites and data entered on the ALA.

 Platypus Surveys

(August): The WW Coordinator supervises four community group surveys which are conducted in August.

 Community engagement

(Monthly): Waterwatch contributions were provided to the SACTCG newsletter and other UMWW communications. Volunteers received emails from the WW Coordinator notifying them of sampling weekends (third weekend of the month) and Waterwatch news. ACT Healthy Waterways messages were promoted to volunteers and wider community where appropriate.

Community Events: Events are attended by the Waterwatch Coordinator where community participation and exposed to Waterwatch messages are included.

 Networking: Network events and meetings are attended promoting Waterwatch key messages.

 Partnerships: Partnerships are maintained with education, research and governmnt institutions locally and nationally to promote or implement Waterwatch initiatives.

 Education: The WW Coordinator also promotes and delivers waterwatch education activities to children such as scouts etc. The coordinator collaborates with the other Waterwatch coordinators in the Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment to deliver education activities.

 Monitoring to action

Catchment health reporting: Data that has been collected on water quality, water bugs, RARC has been so in accordance with CHIP requirements. Information on things such as such as algae, frogs, fish and platypus is collected by our volunteers to enhance our contribution to the CHIP reports.

 Waterwatch projects : The WW coordinator advocates for improved community engagement, citizen science and improved infrastructure for catchment health at government and community workshops.