A timely warning has come out this week on the dangers of waterway pollution after big rainfall events, which can lead to a range of illnesses including gastrointestinal and eye infections.
The natural resource management group for South East Queensland, Healthy Land and Water, is saying that although communities are generally well informed of the risks of entering water during extreme weather events, few people know that they should avoid entering waterways for several days following extreme weather.
It is a timely warning as heavy rain continues to fall across South East Queensland with more rain predicted for the coming days.
Communities are on high alert as severe thunderstorms brought intense rainfall and flash flooding to the region.
More than 250mm fell on parts of the Gold Coast in the 24 hours before Monday morning, Brisbane and Logan received 100mm of rain in 24 hours and Hotham Creek – south of Beenleigh – recorded 113 millimetres in only one hour.
That’s a lot of rain in a short period, and Healthy Land and Water is reminding people during these kinds of heavy rainfall events, sewers can potentially overflow into stormwater pipes and subsequently into our waterways.
“When stormwater makes its way into waterways, it can carry disease-causing microorganisms,” says CEO of Healthy Land and Water, Julie McLellan.
“In light of these recent extreme weather events, we want to make sure people know what to look for so they can avoid the problematic conditions which affect water,” says Ms McLellan.
“We all know not to drive across flooded roads, but not as many people know what to look for so they can avoid the conditions which can pose a potential health risk.”
Healthy Land and Water has published some easy to remember tips on its website.
“We are encouraging people to do a quick internet search for ‘heathy waterplay’. The initiative gives people the information they need to make informed decisions about where and when to use waterways for recreation. The webpage provides helpful information and simple tips everyone can follow when enjoying their next trip to South East Queensland’s beautiful beaches, creeks, and rivers.”
Healthy Land and Water’s Healthy Waterplay initiative is a collaboration supported by the Queensland Government, local councils, water utilities, universities, and other relevant organisations.