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Water Quality in Catchments

Water quality in rivers and lakes is highly dependent on the land - and the use of this land, the catchment - surrounding these systems.

The quality of water is important not just for the aquatics environment but also for human and marines health.

For healthy rivers and reservoirs we need to understand the processes in catchments that influence water quality. This includes knowing where things that dissolved in water come from, both on a small and large scale. We also need to see how such knowledge can be used to improve prediction of water quality outcomes in the reservoirs and catchments. Such knowledge helps us understand impact on the environment as well as agriculture.

For example, this research can help us work out what the biochemical processes that are happening in lakes and reservoirs that lead to water quality issues such as blue-green algae outbreaks. Some species of this algae can be dangerous to both animals and humans.

Water quality also impacts the marine environment. Fresh water streams in southern Australia generally have high levels of dissolved organic carbon and many streams and water storages have environmentally significant amounts of phosphorus. This carbon and phosphorus contributes to pollution in the near marine environment such as the Gulf St Vincent and, along with sediment from soils in the Mount Lofty catchments, is having deleterious effect on the marine biological system. Soil and land management offer the prospect of significantly reducing the problem.

Sample projects include:

More details on catchments.

Environment Institute
The University of Adelaide

Level 1, 112 Darling Building North Terrace

Adelaide SA 5000 AUSTRALIA


T: +61 8 8313 0543