Waterwatch Victoria is a successful community engagement program connecting local communities with river health and sustainable water issues and management.
Through Waterwatch, community groups, individuals and schools are supported and encouraged to become actively involved in local waterway monitoring and on-ground action.
At a state level, the Waterwatch program is influenced by the Victorian River Health Strategy (2002). At a regional level, the program has links to the Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy, the Mallee River Health Strategy (2006), Mallee Wetland Strategy 2006-2011, and local government storm water management plans.
The Mallee Waterwatch program aims to actively engage the Mallee community in natural resource management through building a community monitoring network linked to Mallee CMA priority sites. As part of this process, the program provides training in water quality monitoring techniques, identification of Weeds of National Significance (WoNS), frog call identification, habitat assessments, plus much more.
The Data Confidence Plan is a set of guidelines that aim to ensure Mallee Waterwatch produces credible data of a known quality and therefore reduce the belief that community collected data is of little scientific value. The Data Confidence plan promotes professionalism, skills and achievements of water monitors, encouraging a greater use of Mallee Waterwatch data.
An integral part of the Data Confidence Plan is the Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) component, in which water monitors (including Waterwatch staff) test their skill level against unknown solutions.
Mallee Waterwatch monitors contribute data to a range of Mallee CMA regional and state programs including:
Index of Stream Condition;
Mallee environmental watering program;
Frontage Action Plans
The Living Murray
Mallee Waterwatch has strong partnerships with the community, Landcare, schools, and agencies such as the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Department of Primary Industries, local government and urban and rural water authorities.
Major sponsors of the Mallee Waterwatch program are:
Lower Murray Water
Waterwatch volunteers take part in macroinvertebrate training at by Kings Billabong near Mildura, Victoria.