Torrens River closed to Paddle Sports (and other water activities)
Adelaide City Council informed Canoe SA today at 4.30pm that the Torrens River between Hackney Rd and Frome Road is closed due to elevated algae levels in the water.
Canoeists should make other arrangements for paddling if planning to train or paddle on the Torrens River between Hackney Road and Frome Rd. Please note: this closure does not apply to the Torrens Lake from Frome Rd to the Weir.
Water Quality and Canoeing
In the past often there has been very little thought given by canoeists to water quality issues and its impact on health. Paddlers have seen a piece of water to paddle and have often jumped in their craft and taken to the water to have some fun, excitement and often the adrenalin rush.
Most paddle sports are generally considered to be "secondary contact" activity.
Secondary contact is defined as – "activity in which only the limbs are regularly wet and in which greater contact (including swallowing water) is unusual, and including occasional and inadvertent immersion"
Secondary contact with some recreational water will have adverse health effects.
Before you paddle any waterways you should give some consideration to the quality of the water you will be paddling. A visual inspection is often required prior to any paddling activity and should be a part of any instructors/leaders risk assessment. The visual inspection should include as a minimum:
the turbidity of the water – how far can you see into the water column?
floating debris – is there man made or natural debris floating in the water?
Colour – does the water look a natural colour. Water can be stained by natural vegitation, or be coloured by suspended silt or organisms in the water. Some of the organisms in water can have an adverse health effect on people coming into contact with the water.
Animal activity – the activity of animals on or around a recreational water body and in particular the appearance of animal or bird droppings can be a sign of contamination of the water and possible micro-organisms that are likely to have adverse health effects. (eg: cows in a paddock adjoining a river with cow-pats visible on the bank of the river)
The effect of heavy rain on water quality – periods of rain (where more than 10mm of rain has fallen) can elevate the microbial content of recreational water. It is not recommended (by the WHO or the Australian Health and Medical Reseach Council) to have primary contact with recreational water for 3 days after rain > 10mm. In particular stormwater runoff in urban areas can contain chemicals from roads, & etc that may irritate eyes and skin.
Canoe South Australia advocates for regular water quality testing regimes by local councils on recreational water bodies and an easily recognisable scheme for assessing water quality suitability. The World Health Organisation recommends the use of a trafic light scheme to warn recreational water users (including paddlers) of the quality of the water.
The traffic light scheme is simple and widely recognisable:
- Green – water quality is suitable for recreational contact
- Amber – care should be taken and users should be aware of changing condition of water quality
- Red – contact should be avoided
For further information contact Canoe SA on 8240 3294
For further information on recreational water contact click here