Council resumes watering of public spaces and sporting reserves

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Council has resumed watering of public open spaces and sporting reserves following the lifting of emergency water restrictions this week.

Council uses a combination of town and untreated rural water to irrigate these areas.

In areas where untreated water is used, Council will be irrigating to a very strict regime due to the ongoing potential risks associated with blue-green algae.

Council’s General Manager Development Mandy Whelan said that watering would only take place overnight and for minimal hours in these areas in a bid to reduce the risk of exposure to blue-green algae.

“We have sought as much guidance as possible from a range of authorities before making this decision,” Ms Whelan said.

“We need to strike the balance between ensuring our public spaces, sporting reserves and ovals can be enjoyed by our community, but at the same time need to weigh up the risks to the public.

“By only watering at night, and for minimal hours, as well as erecting warning signs in areas where untreated water is used, we’re aiming to minimise the risk of people being exposed to blue-green algae.”

Ms Whelan explained that by watering at night, any untreated water containing blue-green algae will have dried, minimising the risk of it being consumed, absorbed into skin or clothing, or inhaled.

She stressed that despite these precautions, there was still a chance residents using open spaces or sporting reserves could be exposed to blue-green algae, even once grass has dried. Residents are urged to try and avoid contact between the grass and exposed skin if possible.

Other precautions residents can take:

  • avoid direct contact with water in areas where sprinklers are operating
  • don’t allow pets or young children to run or roll around under sprinklers or in grass in affected areas.

Contact with affected water can cause skin irritation, mild respiratory effects and hayfever-like symptoms. Children may be more susceptible.

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