Townsville adopts level two water restrictions as dam algae levels continue to rise

Date published: 22 December 2022

Council is calling on the community to act now to help the city deal with the impact of a more than 200 per cent increase in blue green algal levels in the Ross River Dam.

Acting Mayor Mark Molachino said Council had been able to protect the community from any impact for months, however weather conditions have supported continued growth in algal levels which now means the community has to play its part.

“Algal levels are more than 200 per cent higher than they were when households and businesses were impacted by algal blooms affecting water quality in 2021,” Cr Molachino said.

“High levels of algae require longer treatment times, reducing the volume of water Council can treat and produce for the city.

“Water consumption levels across the city have unfortunately continued to rise with water consumption up by 15 megalitres a day this week alone. The challenge is not the amount of water available in the dam, it is the level of algal bloom in that water.

"The infrastructure upgrades and treatment process modifications made at Douglas Water Treatment Plant have maintained quality water supply despite the increasing levels of algal blooms. We are now at a point where we need the community to contribute to the solution by reducing outdoor water consumption.”

Cr Molachino said algal blooms were common in bodies of water across the tropics at this time of year, and it was an issue multiple councils were dealing with in the lead up to Christmas.

"Until the city receives a good downpour over the catchment to lower water temperatures, the algal bloom is likely to continue,” he said.

Council believes community support to enact level two restrictions will address the current challenges.

Level two water restrictions for households include:

  • Sprinkler use between 6pm and 8pm using the odds and evens system
  • Hand-held watering can occur at any time
  • Pressure washers only for washing hard surfaces and
  • Cars and boats to be washed using buckets

There are special allowances for commercial operators with information available on Council’s website.

Visit our Townsville water updates page for more information.

Algal Bloom in Ross River Dam reaches new levels - Alert Level  3
Caption: Algal Bloom in Ross River Dam reaches new levels - Alert Level  3