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Greater Sydney Local Land Services to put water quality monitoring equipment on Sydney Harbour ferries

Harbour City ferries are now playing an integral role in improving the environment thanks to the installation of water quality monitoring equipment by Greater Sydney Local Land Services (GSLLS).

In a first for NSW, the water quality monitoring stations will provide continuous, real-time data to help scientists understand water quality and ecological processes in Sydney Harbour.

Dr Peter Freewater, Senior Land Services Officer, Greater Sydney Local Land Services said the data would be used in various models that predict water quality and ecosystem health.

"Greater Sydney Local Land Services is developing a water quality improvement plan that focuses on Sydney Harbour and its tributaries and this data will help us understand more about the impact of poor water quality on the harbour's marine life.

"The water quality monitoring equipment will monitor physical, biological and chemical properties of the harbour as the ferry travels to and from Manly from Circular Quay.

"Water is drawn from the harbour and pumped to sensors that measure the various parameters and together with the calibrated location of the ferry, send the data live to the internet.

"This will benefit scientists to understand the dynamics of the harbour. The data will be used to calibrate water quality and ecosystem response models developed by GSLLS and will inform the Sydney Harbour Catchment Water Quality Improvement Plan.

"The plan will include targets and actions to improve the ecological integrity of Sydney Harbour, which is one of Australia's key tourism assets. This will lead to cleaner water for recreational fishing, swimming, snorkelling and various other harbour based activities.

"The data will also be used by the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences, CSIRO and other research organisations," said Dr Freewater.

Media contact: Joanna Woutersz (02) 4725 3064