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Kosciuszko National Park water quality monitoring

Good water quality is crucial for river health. In a place like Kosciuszko National Park, with its popular ski resorts, this quality can be unintentionally compromised by visitors enjoying the natural splendor of the park. To monitor environmental impact, scientists collect and assess water quality data throughout the year.

Read more about Kosciuszko National Park water quality monitoring

The impact of tourism on Kosciuszko National Park streams has been measured since 1994, during summer, autumn, winter, and spring. Each week NPWS collects information using a water meter which, in winter, requires staff members cross-country skiing in the search for holes in the snow.

There are other measurements, too, including monitors at the Sewer Treatment Plants, which keep an eye on the quality of water leaving ski resorts. Twice a year, scientists from the Water Science Branch travel to the park to collect water samples that are tested for nutrients and metals, and also to test the water for turbidity, pH, electrical conductivity and temperature. These scientists also observe macro invertebrates that live in the water (for which they use AUSRIVAS to assess biological health).

All of this data contributes to an assessment of water quality upstream versus water quality downstream – an accurate indicator of visitors’ environmental impact. Since the program was initiated, the information provided to NPWS has directly influenced the way resorts are managed.

Parks related to this program

Views along the mountain range, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: John Spencer