Blue-Green Algae in Ross River Dam

Disclaimer: Alert levels are updated every Friday.


Alert Level Treatment Requirements
Low Normal treatment of water with increased monitoring of the dam and raw water quality.
Medium              Additional treatment may be required.
High Additional treatment is required, which slows down processing times. Water restrictions may be required to ensure safe drinking water.
Very High          Additional treatment is required, which slows down processing times. Water restrictions may be required to ensure safe drinking water.

Looking for dam levels information? Please visit the dam levels page.

The Ongoing Effects of Blue-Green Algae

Blue-green algae is a growing challenge in both natural and man-made water bodies around the world, and Townsville’s vast waterways are no exception.

Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, are tiny, sun-powered bacteria found in water. Usually, they are a key part of a healthy ecosystem, however algal blooms can occur when specific environmental conditions align, including high nutrient levels, ample sunlight, warm water temperatures and stable water conditions. In Townsville these favourable conditions are common, especially during the wet season.

Algal blooms can compromise water quality, releasing taste and odour compounds, toxins and causing water discoloration. This affects water production with more organic matter required to be removed at the water treatment plant.

We can take action! By reducing our water use, we can help manage the spike in blue-green algae. We encourage everyone to be mindful of their water usage and take steps to conserve water wherever possible. By working together we can ensure that Townsville’s water supply remains secure now and into the future.

Managing Blue-Green Algae

Living in Townsville’s dry tropics climate means we have the perfect environment for algal blooms.

Algal blooms occur when there’s an excess of nutrients creating an ideal environment for blue-green algae to multiply rapidly.

Blue-green algae can produce harmful toxins, emphasising the importance of monitoring water quality. Proactive measures, such as managing nutrient levels and community awareness, play a crucial role in addressing the preventing algal blooms.

Townsville, like many communities, actively works to manage and control blue-green algae, ensuring the safety of its water supply.

Treating Blue-Green Algae

Treating blue-green algae at the Douglas Water Treatment Plant is crucial to ensure the water you drink is safe. Watch the video above to learn about the process.

It’s important to eliminate, reduce and remove the blue-green algae and its toxins at every stage of the treatment process.

A significant water quality monitoring program is actioned daily to ensure the water that comes out of your tap is clean, safe, and healthy to drink.

Did You Know?

Blue-green algae is a global challenge, affecting water bodies worldwide, including Townsville's vast waterways.

Blue-green algae levels at Ross River Dam have surged by over 300% in the past five months, putting pressure on our Douglas Water Treatment Plant.

70% of Townsville’s drinking water is used outdoors on lawns, gardens, pools, car washing and more.

Drinking Water Quality Compliance

Council is committed to providing safe, reliable and cost-effective water services to the Townsville community.

Council extensively tests water quality and works closely with Queensland Public Health and the Water Supply Regulator to ensure all water meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Townsville Water is a registered Service Provider under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008.