Monitoring Victoria’s waters

Victoria’s water environment is monitored in a variety of ways by a range of organisations. This page provides an overview of the monitoring programs that exist in Victoria and links to the Victorian Water Resources Data Warehouse, where much of this information can be accessed.

Monitoring Victoria’s freshwater environment

The Victorian Catchment Management Council, with the Department of Sustainability and Environment, EPA and Melbourne Water, undertakes environmental water quality assessment in Victoria.

It ensures:

  • avoidance of duplication between monitoring programs
  • statewide consistency of monitoring methods
  • annual reporting that provides interpretation and management information at statewide and catchment management authority scale
  • provision of a statewide database of water quality information on the internet.

Yarra Watch

In response to community interest in recreational water quality in the Yarra River, EPA launched the Yarra Watch program in 2005.

Yarra Watch provides internet access to recreational water quality monitoring information on the Yarra River. It is not a forecasting system, as current scientific knowledge cannot predict bacterial water quality in such a complex system.

Melbourne Water collects weekly water samples at sites from Docklands to the upper reaches of the river. Yarra Watch divides the river into lower, middle and upper sections and provides local information for 4 sites in each section.

Monitoring Victoria’s marine environment

In the marine environment, EPA monitors 16 fixed sites in three major embayments — Port Phillip Bay, Western Port Bay and the Gippsland Lakes.

We measure changes in nutrient levels and algae composition , oxygen conditions, toxicants and water clarity, which can have a negative effect on marine systems. For example, excess nutrients in the Gippsland Lakes have led to significant algal blooms in recent years, negatively impacting both the ecosystem and its recreational use.

Our analysis focuses on assessing water quality trends over time and the ecological condition of these embayments.

In summer EPA forecasts and monitors bacterial water quality at 36 beaches in Port Phillip Bay under the EPA Beach Report program. This gives up-to-date information on water quality between December and March.

In addition, EPA is involved in a range of studies, often in collaboration with research organisations, which are aimed at understanding what processes are controlling changes in environments where impact issues have been highlighted.

Victorian Water Resources Data Warehouse

All water quality data for Victoria’s rivers, streams, lakes, estuaries, bays and water storages can now be found on the internet at the Victorian Water Resources Data Warehouse.

This website provides access to raw and summary data for water quality throughout Victoria. It is also a central repository for published documents produced from this data.


Page last updated on 29 Jul 2015