Home Dimboola Banner River salinities in a seasonal pattern at Jeparit

River salinities in a seasonal pattern at Jeparit

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Jeparit Waterwatch volunteers from left, Frank Pitt, Jeanie Clark and Martin Stone meet monthly at the Jeparit Museum to test Wimmera River water. Photo: W. Werner.
Jeparit Waterwatch volunteers from left, Frank Pitt, Jeanie Clark and Martin Stone meet monthly at the Jeparit Museum to test Wimmera River water. Photo: W. Werner.

High autumn salinities of over 5,000 EC have again been reached in a typical dry-time pattern along the Wimmera River at Jeparit, reports the Jeparit Waterwatch Group.

The long-term graph pictured below shows the ups and downs of the Wimmera River’s salinity from Tarranyurk to Lake Hindmarsh since the flood of 2011. Each year the river at Jeparit has reached 5,000 EC units in the late Summer to Autumn. 

This is a high level of salinity, but nowhere near as high as it reached in the Millenium Drought years, when, ten years ago, it was over 140,000 EC’s. As a comparison, the Murray River at Mildura does not even reach 1,000 EC’s during its Autumn flows. Along with the higher salinities, the river’s pH levels moved from neutral to alkaline levels again.

“The Lake has been dry since the Summer of 2017, so the bird life has focused on the river,” said Frank Pitt. 

“Pacific Black Ducks have been the main users of the river in the last year, but there are many other ducks and water birds, which we delight in seeing.” 

“We continue to have great concerns about the amount of Prickly Pear along the watercourse between Tarranyurk and our Museum site and South African Boneseed at the Lake,” said Martin Stone. 

“During the last year, we’ve reported such weeds to Parks Victoria. While Ash Tree infestations at our Daphne St site, near the stormwater drain entrance, seem to be dealt with quickly, the other weeds cover a much larger area and we wonder if Parks is winning the battle with them.” 

Jeparit Waterwatch Group has been monitoring the Wimmera River monthly, for 24 years at nine sites from Tarranyurk to Lake Hindmarsh for salinity, pH, turbidity (murkiness of water), temperature and biodiversity. “Data can be seen at ‘Waterwatch Victoria – ‘monitoring’ webpage,” said co-ordinator Jeanie Clark.

Aged from their 60’s to 80’s, the JWW volunteers meet monthly on the second Wednesday morning of the month at the Jeparit Museum on the verandah or inside.  

“Visitors are welcome to come along, as Jeparit Waterwatch is seeking new members of any age, to join us and share in this way of caring for our river,” said Mr Pitt,. 

Graph caption :

The salinity graph for the Jeparit Waterwatch monitoring sites along the Wimmera River at Tarranyurk, Jeparit (7) and Lake Hindmarsh, since the flood of Jan 2011 show repeated seasonal ups and downs.   Graph J. Clark.