Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s (EPA) Yarra and Bay website, which provides water quality information for Bay beaches and the Yarra River, has been awarded the Emergency Media and Public Affairs (EMPA) Award for Excellence in Emergency Communication, Readiness and Resilience (4 June 2018).
Each summer, the Yarra and Bay website forecasts whether water in the Bay and at key recreational swimming spots on the Yarra, will be of Good, Fair or Poor quality giving swimmers information that can save them from potentially harmful water borne diseases.
“Water quality can be affected by events like storms and algal bloom issues and can cause health problems like gastro or skin irritation,” explained EPA Chief Environmental Scientist Dr Andrea Hinwood.
“The service that Yarra and Bay provides is used by a lot of Victorians each summer to avoid using swimming spots that may pose a health risk.”
The EMPA award is in recognition of the role Yarra and Bay plays in communicating with Victorians to make them ready and resilient to a possible health issue.
“Last year we updated the website twice daily for three months, tweeted twice daily, sent 138,687 SMS alerts to more than 10,000 registered users and the website was visited 110,000 times,” said Dr Hinwood.
“Along with that Bayside councils and lifesaving clubs used the website to get information they needed to produce signage warning of any issues.
“Thanks to our Yarra and Bay partners: Melbourne Water, DELWP, Life Saving Victoria, the councils and the lifesaving clubs and thanks to EMPA for recognising the positive contribution Yarra and Bay makes to the readiness and resilience of Victorians.”