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What is Waterwatch?

Waterwatch is a community water quality monitoring initiative.

Small waterways make up three - quarters of the total stream network in any catchment. These are monitored most effectively by local people.

Waterwatch was established in 1992 to provide the skills and support needed for local communities to monitor these waterways.

17 years on, Waterwatch groups are collecting viable water quality data across Australia.

Why monitor?

There are many reasons why your group might like to monitor: perhaps you have a specific concern about your local river or creek or perhaps you would simply like to know more about it.

The following are among the reasons why people join Waterwatch
• To investigate how good or bad the health of their waterway is.
• To understand what the problems are and what needs to be done.
• To measure change in the health of their waterway over time.
• To show the benefits of their actions such as tree planting, pollution reduction.
• To gather information to show others the problems that are occurring
• To encourage greater community awareness of environmental problems.

Whatever, the motivation for joining, Waterwatch can tailor a package of equipment and methods that suit your site and issue of interest, and your preferred frequency and type of testing.

What do Waterwatchers do?

All participants can learn how to test the water for temperature, pH (how acid or alkaline the water is), salinity, turbidity (how clear the water is). Older participants can test for available phosphate, dissolved oxygen or faecal coliforms.
A full explanation of these parameters is available by clicking here.

Waterwatchers can also learn about the bug (macroinvertebrate) life in their waterway and take part in the biannual Water Bug Survey (October and March).

Waterwatch groups provide data on how river systems have changed over time, demonstrate whether remediation activities are having the desired effect, and can identify emerging problems. Waterwatch groups monitor water quality once a month.

Click on the links to the Waterwatch Newsletter to see what Waterwatch groups around the Namoi Catchment have been getting up to.

Anyone can take part in other Waterwatch activities around the Namoi Catchment throughout the year. Check the ‘Dates for your Diary' section of the website to see what is happening near you and when.

What happens to the data?

Waterwatch groups upload their data onto a database which any member of the public can access.
This database can be found by following the links to ‘Your Water Quality' on the New South Wales Waterwatch homepage at

Namoi Catchment Management Authority will use data collected by Namoi Waterwatch groups, along with other data, to monitor changes in catchment health and determine future areas for investment.

How can I get involved?

You can get involved as an individual or as part of a group. Schools, landholders and community groups around the Namoi are registering as Waterwatch groups.

It's free to join and training is provided for free.

Equipment is normally funded through group fund raising activities or by sponsorship from a range of bodies that include Landcare groups or local businesses.

Waterwatch ‘Starter Pack'

If you would like to get involved, contact your local Waterwatch Coordinator
Stephanie McCaffrey on (02) 6764 5961 to discuss the type of monitoring you would like to do and to obtain a Starter Pack.

Frequently Asked Questions.

What does Waterwatch offer community groups and schools?

• A comprehensive water quality monitoring system to suit your group's needs and interests.
• Use of an on-line water quality database for entering test results, and viewing other water quality information.
• The opportunity to be part of a national network of community water quality monitoring groups.
• A group space on the regional notebook of the Waterwatch web site.
• Many links to curriculum requirements for schools
• A way to have fun with friends, family and others!

Is Waterwatch just for community groups and schools?

There are opportunities for local businesses to get involved. Commonly this is through sponsorship arrangements with a local group. For more information on getting involved in Waterwatch, contact the Namoi Waterwatch Coordinator on or phone 02 6764 5961.

Waterwatch also has an accredited package of skills that suit land managers, property training programs as well as Green Corp teams, indigenous programs.

What is Waterwatch?
Factsheet: Water Quality Parameters and Indicators.

Other links

National Waterwatch Network:
Waterwatch Australia

New South Wales Waterwatch:

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Namoi Catchment Management Authority, 2013