Lake Connewarre is also closed but the river at Barwon Heads is not, despite toxin levels being high there too. Certainly there was no visible indication of the algae at Barwon Heads a week ago, however the problem with the toxins produced by blue green algae is that, unlike the algae itself, they are colourless and odourless, meaning that it is not possible to gauge river health with the naked eye. In addition, the toxins can hang around longer than the algae, meaning that water quality can be unsafe even once the bloom is gone, as various authorities have been at pains to point out.
On Wednesday I thought I'd have a look at Lake Connewarre and see if the bloom was as spectacular there as the one upriver, however I was to be disappointed on this occasion. Water levels were clearly lower than over winter and I could certainly see a distinctly green tinge to areas of the lake, but nothing like the luminescent shades at Queen's Park.
|Blue green algae at Lake Connewarre|
In my own quest to maintain some grit, I went for a run to Queen's Park and back and snuck a quick glance at the river on my way past. Certainly it was still more green than brown in many parts, but there didn't seem to be quite the same crust of algae covering the surface of the water near the lilies as there was earlier in the week.
|Women's coxed fours|
|Geelong Grammar eight|
|Corio Bay Rowing Club double scull|
By contrast, the weather forecast for the next couple of days is not quite so benign and there may well be some rain to flush the system clean. Help may also be at hand in the form of a serendipitous release of 40 million litres of water into the Moorabool from the reserves at Lal Lal. Whilst it won't be much help upstream of Fyansford, it may help water quality downstream through Geelong.
This ten day release which began on the 23rd January is one of three for the summer designed to deliver "environmental" flows to the river, enhancing the benefits already derived from the good rainfall over the last year. It has also been timed to coincide with the release of 27 million litres of water per day into the river for use by Geelong over the summer months.
So hopefully with a little time and a bit more water, all should soon return to normal.