Lakes & Waterways

Kennett River

Our Water Quality – what can you do?

  • Avoid swimming near stormwater, creek or river outlets 24-48 hours after heavy rain
  • Swimming in Lake Colac and estuaries is not recommended and at swimmer's own risk
  • Prevent pollution: do not litter and pick up after your dog to reduce rubbish and waste washing into waterways

Our Water Quality – your health 

The responsibility for managing the water quality of Lake Colac falls to a number of agencies and organisations such as DELWPDepartment of Jobs, Precincts and RegionsCCMAEPABarwon Water and Colac Otway Shire Council.

Council is conducting monthly tests from October – March at the Lake Colac beach area and the boat ramp at Meredith Park, Colac.

As yet, no specific point source/polluter has been identified; a number of possible sources for poor water quality in Lake Colac, Wye River and Kennett River.

The Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) advises that until 100 samples have been gathered, analysis is difficult, and therefore water users should consider the results of water testing currently undertaken as a “snapshot”, and swimming in Lake Colac and estuaries is at the swimmer’s risk.

Council has a public health responsibility when it comes to providing advice to members of the public on the suitability of Lake Colac, Kennett River and Wye River for swimming/recreational activity.

While Lake Colac had experienced low water levels and a lack of activity over a number of years, higher rainfall in recent years and Council’s work to improve the foreshore area has encouraged more visitors to the foreshore and enabled recreational water use to occur.

The return of yachts and other lake users prompted Council to test the water quality from December 2018 and develop a water testing plan to provide information to the community.

According to the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) guidelines for primary contact the median enterococci organisms per 100mL over the season should not exceed 35 org/100mL.

Similarly, for secondary contact the median enterococci organisms per 100mL over the season should not exceed 230 org/100mL.

Primary contact is defined as recreation where you are in direct contact with the water, can be fully immersed and could swallow water; this includes water skiing, diving and swimming. 

Secondary contact includes boating.

Direct sunlight certainly plays an important part in improving the water quality because enterococci is susceptible to sunlight.   

However, any lake or river which can be contaminated with animal faeces from wildlife and other animals such as dogs will have levels of enterococci.

Water quality tests at Lake Colac, Wye River and Kennett River can assist the public make informed decisions about recreational water use.

  Lake Colac Boat Ramp Lake Colac Meredith Park Wye River Kennett River
Test Date   Enterococci organisms/100ml  Enterococci organisms/100ml  Enterococci organisms/100ml Enterococci organisms/100ml 
 December 2018 88 103 330 24
8 January 2019 >2400 >2400 Not taken Not taken
18 January 2019 >2400 >2400 350 250
 4 February 2019 1000  550 Not taken Not taken
 18 February 2019 400 260 Not taken Not taken
 April 2019 20 10 74 120
 22 October 2019 26 6 27
 21 November 2019     86  140 
28 November 2019  20  20     
17 December 2019   800  <10 41   52
 16 January 2020  17      
26 February 2020 2900   2600  410  880
 12 March 2020  110 52  63  41 
 10 October 2020 470  330   120  10
14 December 2020   4000  1800  180  20
 5 January 2021  2800  1200 74   52
17 February 2021   63  270  310 41 
 4 August 2021        42
1 September 2021       
14  December 2021 41  10  41  130 
5 January 2022   180  110  680  1200



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