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Rare algae indicates very good quality in Yeppoon’s raw water dam

Published:12 February 2018

TOP: Masters student Lorna Wells with Livingstone Shire reps. MID: Kelly's Dam. BELOW: Associate Professor Larelle Fabbro (second from right) with Ms Wells and LSC reps, left to right, Pest Management Officer Glenn McIntyre (yellow shirt), Councillor Adam Belot, and Water Quality Officer Michael Dalton (far right).

A CQUniversity research student has found a rare algae indicating very good water quality in Kelly’s Dam – the raw water storage for the Capricorn Coast’s water supply.

The 1.3 gigalitre reservoir is supplied with water from Water Park Creek at Byfield. From there it’s treated at the Woodbury Water Treatment Plant and then pumped to homes and businesses from Yeppoon to Keppel Sands.

Research by Masters student Lorna Wells has found a form of the rare green alga Staurastrum in the dam’s water supply.

“Not only does this alga look spectacular, it indicates very good water quality in even the raw water,” Ms Well says.

“Forms of Staurastrum are common in the waters of Kakadu and in the lakes in Tasmania.”

Ms Wells says her project supplements Livingstone Shire Council’s regular water monitoring program, extending the current range of monitoring sites and focusing on a waterbody that feeds directly into the Woodbury Water Treatment Plant.

“The collaboration of this joint water study has other benefits such as providing an opportunity for CQUni scientists and LSC officers to learn new sampling skills from each other,” she says.

Water Councillor Adam Belot said this was something the whole community could be very proud of.

“These fantastic findings provide further confirmation that the Livingstone Shire drinking water is up there with the best in the country,” Cr Belot said.

Ms Wells is a Bachelor of Environmental Science graduate who has previously been involved as a volunteer with catchment groups in South-East Queensland.

CQUniversity Associate Professor Larelle Fabbro, who is co-supervising the research with Dr Judith Wake and Dr Leo Duivenvoorden, says “the Yeppoon water supply has won various awards for the quality and taste of the tap water and they are actively involved in keeping it that way”.