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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Waterwatchers Go With the Flow


23 October 1996
(137/96)

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has launched the largest ever community effort to evaluate the health of Australia's waterways.

Senator Hill says the national Waterwatch Australia Snapshot '96 is expected to involve up to 50 000 people collecting samples from several thousand sites in catchments across the nation.

"To mark National Waterwatch Day, the community is joining forces to form a picture of the quality of Australia's rivers, streams, creeks, billabongs and wetlands.

"Waterwatch groups, Landcare groups, schools, rangers and retirees will be measuring water samples for turbidity and macro invertebrates, and contribute their data to the Department of the Environment."

The results of Snapshot '96 will be published by the department later this year.

Senator Hill says the Government will build on this community effort through the establishment of the National Rivercare Initiative under the $1 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

On the banks of the Yarra River, the Minister has also launched the Waterwatch Australia home page on the Internet.

"When complete, the site will allow Waterwatch groups in Australia to communicate with one another and with people in 130 other countries with similar programs.

"The site will eventually include links to home pages for each State and Territory to assist groups wanting to exchange information and experiences with water quality monitoring across catchments.

"This acceleration in the networking process can only benefit national efforts for managing and restoring Australia's waterways."

The Waterwatch Australia program is an environmental education and awareness program which promotes water quality monitoring as a way of involving the Australian community in land and water management.

The address of the Waterwatch Australia site is: http://www.waterwatch.org.au/.

Contact:

Matt Brown, Minister's office, 06 277 7640; 0419 693 515

Alison Russell French, Department, 06 250 0223; 250 0766

Commonwealth of Australia