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Where are the Port waterways
The Port waterways (Port River and Barker Inlet Estuary) are north west of Adelaide. Residential and industrial areas surround the Port River while suburban encroachment is occurring along the southern part of Barker Inlet.
This diverse estuary includes deep channels, large areas of fringing mangroves, extensive tidal flats and seagrass beds. It is an important nursery for fish and marine invertebrates. The waterways support a diverse and abundant bird population.
The Port waterways are suffering from serious nutrient pollution. The major sources of nutrients are the Bolivar wastewater treatment plant and the Penrice soda ash plant at Osborne. Stormwater is a relatively minor source of nutrients.
The excessive nutrient levels in the Port waterways lead to frequent phytoplankton blooms and the abundant growth of nuisance seaweed such as Ulva (sea lettuce). Phytoplankton blooms cause noticeable discoloration of the water column, reduce water clarity and sometimes consist of species that are toxic. Ulva and other macroalgae form floating rafts that block cooling water intakes, smother mangrove pneumatophores and accumulate along the shoreline in large drifts that decompose, producing unpleasant odours.
The EPA began a study of the water quality of Port waterways in 2004 with the assistance of funding from the federal government. The study has led to the development of the Port River Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) (996.9 KB PDF) and Appendices (908.7 KB PDF). This plan aims to reduce the quantity of nutrients discharged into the waterway.
Modelling of water quality processes in the estuary has allowed us to calculate the reductions in nutrient discharges from Penrice and SA Water needed to improve the water quality to meet community expectations. The necessary reductions are substantial and will be expensive to implement. However, there are now nutrient reduction targets that will guide SA Water and Penrice in future planning.
The WQIP will be reviewed every seven years. The review will include monitoring (and public reporting) the progress of nutrient reductions and improvements in water quality of the waterways.
Water quality is monitored at the following sites in the Port waterways:
- Site 1 - Hindmarsh Reach, adjacent Snowdens Beach
- Site 2 - Lipson Reach adjacent quarantine station
- Site 3 - Outer Harbor
- Site 4 - North Arm adjacent causeway bridge
- Site 5 - North Arm adjacent Magazine Creek
- Site 6 - Torrens Reach adjacent mouth of Angas Inlet
- Site 7 - Torrens Reach
- Site 8 - Barker Inlet north of Section Bank
- Site 9 - Inner harbour
- Overall summary of water quality data in the Port Waterways
- Port River Water Quality Report No. 1 (1997) (311.1 KB PDF)
- Port River Water Quality Report No. 2 (2002) (2.8 MB PDF)
- Port River Sediment Quality Report (1997) (983.4 KB PDF)
- Port River: Heavy metals and PCBs in dolphins, fish and sediment (2000) (472.6 KB PDF)
- City of Port Adelaide-Enfield
- City of Salisbury
- Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board
- Marine Discovery Centre
Last modified: 05/06/2012 04:40 pm