26 September 2023

Catchment boost to beat lake algae blooms

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The health of Canberra’s water catchments is to be improved to reduce the incidents of algae blooms.

Under the next stage of the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate’s ACT Healthy Waterways program, Minister for Water, Shane Rattenbury said the $14 million program which began in November would focus on stopping pollutants at the source.

“We all love the beautiful lakes, rivers and wetlands of our bush capital, and want to keep them healthy,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“[The funding] will help care for our waterways by keeping pollutants from entering stormwater, reducing nutrient loads through infrastructure like wetlands, running education programs and supporting vital research to better understand pollution sources,” he said.

“The key focus areas for the next stage of the Healthy Waterways program will be on improving the health of catchments and waterways that supply Lake Tuggeranong to help reduce incidences of algal blooms.”

Mr Rattenbury said this would be done by preventing pollutants from entering water bodies through infrastructure, research and education campaigns, and expanding on community-based programs like The Leaf Collective.

The Minister said 11 new water quality assets would be constructed across Belconnen and Tuggeranong.

“New assets will include multiple innovative designs like floating wetlands that remove pollution, expanding the infrastructure options available to ACT water managers to improve water quality,” he said.

Mr Rattenbury said the Directorate would also engage with public and private landowners to reduce fertiliser use in catchment areas; extend the research in the Lake Tuggeranong catchment; and develop new modelling and reporting tools.

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