Waterwatch Hall of Fame

Meet some of our amazing volunteers who make up the Waterwatch program.

Jeparit Waterwatch volunteers on their 21st birthday, from left: Frank Pitt, Campbell Livingston, Martin Stone, Jeanie Clark and David Livingston, with Bryan Snowdon, Gordon Bennett and Michael Clark absent from this photo.
Photo K. Jenkin.

What changes have you noticed in our Wimmera’s waters in the last year …. and in the last 21 years?

By Jeannie Clarke. 27th May 2016

Jeparit Waterwatch has just clocked up 21 years of monthly monitoring of over half a dozen sites along the Wimmera River and Lake Hindmarsh. Aged from 20 to over 80, the JWW volunteers meet monthly on second Wednesdays at the Jeparit Museum to test water quality and note changes in the River environment and its wildlife.  “Visitors and new members are welcome to join us, and share in the activities and chat,” said Frank.

What changes has JWW noticed in the last year? Water quality, weir pool level, birdlife and fish life, weed trees, drying back waters.

“In reviewing our data, in May 2016, five years on from the flood of Jan 2011, all signs of that flow have gone.” Jeanie reported. “Until the last 6 months, the river had mostly been under saline water level – and that is better than for much of the last 21 years at Jeparit. However, in the last year, the river salinities along the winding river at Jeparit have been going up monthly, over the ‘saline water’ level in January and reaching a peak in April.  Recent rain since then brought them down a little in May – a bit of a good news for the JWW 21st birthday!”  

Going out from the town area, there is no water in the River bed leading into Jeparit and nor at Lake Hindmarsh, which has been dry since February 2014.  “Like the farming community, JWW is also hoping for good rains in the coming months. The River needs a good flush at Jeparit. We hope it will come and we’ll record this, rather than a continuing rise in salinity like it did in the first decade of this century!” Martin said.

Monitor Rob Loats in North Central Waterwatch program explains why he likes to volunteer his time to collect valuable water quality data.

Monitoring for native fish and all the other little creatures within our waterways contributes vital data to organisations like the CMA.  I get great satisfaction from knowing that the data I provide is used to help create a better environment.’ Rob Loats, North Central Waterwatch Volunteer since 1996.

I am so happy to be a part of a team of community monitors and working with a team leader who has always provided me with a sense of doing something worthwhile.” Cathy McCallum, North Central Waterwatch Volunteer since 2005