Waterwatch is a monitoring and engagement program that connects local communities with river health and water management issues and informs waterway management. Waterwatch volunteers have been collecting water quality data in our region since 1993 – over 20 years!

Waterwatch objectives

The Waterwatch program has the following objectives:

  • increase understanding of water issues and catchment health
  • generate useful data
  • increase community involvement in decision making and action in partnership with catchment managers

Waterwatch monitoring

Waterwatch volunteers monitor local waterways by undertaking a range of tests, recording this data and other observations at regular intervals over time. These tests have been designed to be easy to use in the field without any prior experience and may include monitoring air and water temperature, pH, turbidity, reactive phosphorus, electrical conductivity, macroinvertebrates and habitat changes.

Storing the data

All collected data is stored on the Waterwatch Victoria database.

Using the data

Waterwatch monitors usually have specific questions they are interested in answering with the data they have collected. Waterwatch Victoria has developed an excellent resource called Interpreting River Health Data for your use.

Waterwatch data is also taken from the database to fill the gaps of agency’s monitoring programs and help waterway managers make decisions and plan action. The high sampling intensity of community collected data makes it a very valuable resource.

Some examples of where Waterwatch data has been used for regional planning activities, include:

  • Regional Catchment Strategy
  • Corner Inlet Water Quality Improvement Plan 2013
  • South Gippsland, Baw Baw, Wellington, Latrobe and Bass Coast shire council Stormwater Management Plans
  • Gippsland Lakes Coastal Action Plan
  • Catchment Condition Report Latrobe & Corner Inlet Catchment Ecosystems 2009

Becoming a Waterwatch monitor

Waterwatch monitors choose to be involved in the program for many reasons, for example you may be worried that the water quality of your creek is getting worse and want to explore this. Maybe you are after an outdoor activity to do with your children to encourage their connection to nature, or maybe you are a student looking for work and want to add this to your resume. Mostly, people just want to do some good for the environment whilst getting some fresh air.

Getting started

To get started as a Waterwatch monitor watch the following short videos, these videos have been developed to introduce our program and monitoring techniques.

The following resources are required to set up and carry out your monitoring program.

Please note the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) booklet contains the methods for each type of monitoring instrument as well as background information. To obtain a copy or register as a waterwatch volunteer please contact our Waterwatch coordinator via email or call 1300 094 262.

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