Hawkesbury Watch quality monitor

Article image - Hawkesbury Watch quality monitor Hornsby Shire Councilís environmental scientists regularly check the monitoring buoys.

Hornsby Shire Council’s Hawkesbury Watch is a unique program using remote monitoring buoys to collect real-time information on water conditions in the Hawkesbury River.

The program was recognised at the 2018 New South Wales Green Globe - Public Sector Leadership Award for excellence in integrating strong environmental practices.

Hawkesbury Watch allows the community to access data from the buoys through Council’s website, keeping residents and visitors informed about swimming conditions and the general health of the waterway.

Hornsby Shire Mayor, Philip Ruddock, said, “The Hawkesbury is a brilliant natural asset right at our doorstep, and what our Natural Resources team has accomplished to ensure that the water quality and state of the estuary is closely monitored is just fantastic.”

Hawkesbury Watch began in a tinnie on the Hawkesbury River in 2001, when a group of Hornsby Shire Council’s environmental scientists tried to find an alternative to traditional water sampling and lab analysis. The information could easily be a couple of days old.

Today, Hawkesbury Watch is a successfully established, unique system providing council’s scientists and the community with daily reports on swimming conditions, estuary health, water quality, algal blooms and interactive access to data via the website.

Six real-time water quality probes are permanently moored in the estuary collecting water quality data every 15 minutes.

The probes take a range of measurements used to predict the likelihood of bacterial contamination at 13 typical recreational sites along the river.

“What a great way to avoid potential swimming related illnesses by finding out in real time if pollution is likely in the area,” Mayor Ruddock said.