Water quality monitoring in the Burdekin Area

    Agtrix has particpated in a BBIFMAC (Burdekin Bowen Integrated Floodplain Management Advisory Committee Inc) project. Mr Tom McShane, BBIFMAC manager, comments on the usefulness of this project:

    "A Sub Catchment Adaptive Management Approach to Water Quality in Sugarcane".
    In the Burdekin Irrigation area, over the past few years, extensive water quality monitoring has taken place both on-farms, through the three year BBIFMAC managed “Water Quality Pixel” project, and in-stream via several regional water quality monitoring programs conducted by various agencies (ACTFR, DERM, DEEDI).
    In spite of these great initiatives, the farmers themselves are still unsure as to how well the in-stream results reflect what is actually happening on their individual farms and visa versa. They therefore are reluctant to take ownership of any issues as they arise and implement change management to alleviate the issues.
    This project aims to make the direct connection (paddock to stream) by intensively monitoring in real time the runoff at the downstream end of the sub-catchment stream/drain, and tracking any spikes in concentration of nutrients and pesticides, back to the farm and paddocks. The “offending” management practices can then be quickly identified and modified or alternative practices discussed with the farmer.

    Results will be discussed by the sub-catchment group at regular project team meeting and documentation of results and management changes will be reported within the group and to the wider industry.
    Essential to the project success is the following components -:

    • AgDat  database of focus catchment available to all growers;
      • Real time or quick return, flow weighted WQ in-stream monitoring (Agtrix website);
        • Sound understanding of mechanisms of loss from the paddock;
          • Absolute trust, cooperation and communication with the sub-catchment farmers
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