Local Landcare members volunteer to regularly test water quality for the Statewide Waterwatch Program. Into Our Hands contributed funds to purchase water sampling equipment for The Mudgegonga & District Landcare Group which was established in 1993 by a small group of Mudgegonga Farmers. It now boasts over 70 members from Mudgegonga, Rosewhite, Barwidgee, Tunnel Gap Bruarong and Running Creek. Since its beginnings the Group has undertaken many environmental initiatives.
The local Waterwatch program commenced in 2006 and now a team of six dedicated locals monitor and test at eight sites on the Barwidgee, Rosewhite and Sandy Creeks every month. President Terry Karis, Minute Secretary, Paula Pipan and members, Bernard Carroll, David Hartsman of Mudgegonga and Leesa Morrison of Rosewhite manage the testing at the various sites and Phil Hawkins also of Mudgegonga, surveys for macro-invertebrates.
Testing is undertaken to identify levels of phosphorus, salt electrical conductivity (EC), pH, water temperature, dissolved oxygen and turbidity.
The Waterwatch program encourages local communities to take responsibility for their local streams and rivers. By monitoring water quality local groups can observe and learn about the health of their streams and are empowered to identify problems and take action.
The data provides an historical record of how the river systems have changed over time and also demonstrates whether remediation activities are having the desired effect. The data can also identify emerging local issues.
The Into Our Hands grant funded equipment for one complete kit to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, reactive phosphorous, turbity and electrical conductivity. The funding also covered replacement equipment for other samplers; dissolved oxygen, pH and EC.
The Waterwatch Community Liaison Officers of the North East Catchment Authority provide ongoing training for the volunteers who are required to learn the new water sampling equipment and to undergo annual quality assessment to ensure accurate information is gained through the program. The data records are available to government and industry and require a high confidence level.