Water quality monitoring programs

Water monitoring

Monitoring water resources provides the information we need to inform policy and management decisions. It also helps us evaluate the effectiveness of these decisions over time. We coordinate an extensive city-wide surface water quality monitoring and assessment program for waterways throughout the Gold Coast.

Water environment monitoring program

This comprehensive program focuses on waterway health to support the management of Gold Coast waterways.

The aim of the program is to:

  • assess the health of waterways
  • identify causes of decline in waterway health
  • provide information needed to put actions in place to improve waterway health.

The program includes:

  • sentinel water quality monitoring
  • sentinel macroinvertebrate monitoring
  • continuous discharge and water quality monitoring (city flows)
  • recreational waters monitoring.

Sentinel water quality monitoring

Water quality is monitored quarterly at over 50 sites across the Gold Coast. Officers measure water quality manually. They use a testing device called a sonde to collect a sample of water for testing at the laboratory.

Sentinel macroinvertebrate monitoring

Also known as water bugs, aquatic macroinvertebrates are small animals without a backbone. They live all or part of their lives in water. There are many different types, including dragonfly larvae, mosquito larvae, water fleas, beetles, and snails.

Water bugs are highly sensitive to changes in the water. Each water bug has certain sensitivity to pollution or changes to water quality. A healthy waterway will have many different types of water bugs present. A polluted or disturbed waterway will have only a few different types of water bugs.

By sampling water bug community types and numbers, we can better understand waterway health. Sampling of main river systems is done twice a year.

Continuous discharge and water quality monitoring (city flows)

This program provides a network of discharge and water quality monitoring sensors across our waterways. The sensors deliver close to real time continuous data to support the management of the waterways, help with flood assessment and other water related projects and programs.

Recreational waters monitoring program

Queensland Health has recommended all local governments develop an improved monitoring program to assess and manage the risks to human health from recreational water use.

Our recreational waters monitoring program identifies waterway-related public health risks, including faecal contamination, cyanobacteria and algae. Where necessary, we implement appropriate management measures to reduce these risks.

Constructed waterway monitoring

The health of the cities constructed waterways can be impacted by untreated stormwater runoff from roads and surrounding land uses. To enable a better understanding of ecosystem health in our constructed waterways, the City regularly monitors water quality across 55 sites.