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What happens when rivers get sick

Unhealthy rivers are not just an environmental problem. In time of drought, water quality can seriously decline leaving it unusable.

Fortunately most of our rivers have not yet reached this point.

The Millenium drought from 1995-2009 showed us what could happen to our rivers if we fail to protect them.

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Wimmera River in drought

During the Millennium drought, the Wimmera River stopped flowing.  Lack of water flow coupled with historic land clearing caused salty groundwater to came  to the surface and penetrate the river bed. The result: dead trees and unusable water that was toxic to stock and wildlife.

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Algae in Moorabool River

The Moorabool River supplies water to Geelong and Ballarat as well as to vineyards and potato growers in the area. In 2007 almost all the available water was extracted from the river. All that was left were disconnected pools that became choked with algae, unusable for any purpose and toxic to livestock.

Toxic water in the Psyche Bend lagoon during drought

Toxic water in the Psyche Bend lagoon during drought

During the Millennium drought, Psyche Bend Lagoon became severely affected by salty drainage water from irrigation properties, and salty groundwater. As a result the lagoon became more acidic than battery acid, making it too toxic for any type of use.

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