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Experiencing the world of water quality monitoring

17 September, 2018

Busselton student Sebastian Taylor road tested a career in water quality monitoring and science during his work experience last week at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).

Seb is a year 10 student at Georgiana Molloy Anglican School and is interested in doing a double degree in marine science and marine biology at university when he is finished school.

Seb joined the DWER monitoring team on Monday to carry out water quality monitoring in the Lower Blackwood catchment as part of the Regional Estuaries Initiative. He assisted in collecting water samples and using a probe to determine the physical parameters of water including pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen.

Samples collected are used to monitor water quality flowing from tributaries of the Blackwood River into the Hardy Inlet and to assess changes over time due to improved management practices or land use change.

“It was great fun getting out in the bush collecting the samples” said Seb.

On his second day Seb joined DWER officers at a local Geographe dairy farm to pump and filter water samples from lysimeters that have been placed under ground to collect runoff from pasture.  The monitoring is showing a major difference in water quality collected in lysimeters under normal pasture and pasture that has been underlain with a phosphorus binding soil amendment.

On Wednesday Seb hit the water and helped out with sampling in the Vasse estuary by monitoring water profiles along the channel.  DWER monitors the channel weekly for algae blooms and to support management to reduce the risk of fish kills

“It was fun going out in the boat and using the probe to monitor water quality” said Seb.

It wasn’t all fun and games though and the DWER team shared the joy of downloading data and processing samples with Seb to expose him to all aspects of the job of water quality monitoring.

Seb’s enthusiasm and easy going nature was rewarded on his final day with the team with an opportunity to take part in a sampling run on the Leschenault estuary.

“It was a great week gave me a good insight into what I hope to be doing in the future as a marine scientist” said Seb and most importantly it was “better than school”!

It’s World Water Monitoring Day on Tuesday 18 September! Visit the Revitalising Geographe Waterways Geographe waterways page to find out about water quality monitoring in your local waterways.