R&D Water Quality Guidelines
Development of site specific water quality guidelines is a necessary objective for many industries to ensure the receiving environment downstream of operations are not adversely impacted. National and state water quality guidelines (often referred to as the ‘default guidelines’) are available to be used as a benchmark in the absence of more locally relevant guidelines but these by necessity can be more conservative and designed to protect the most sensitive communities. Generally, they do not reflect the local adaptations of the ecological community to ambient water quality which may impose a greater or lesser level of protection than default guideline values.
TropWATER is working across a number of projects to develop locally relevant water quality guidelines for specific contaminants that are better reflective of local conditions. This is being achieved by development and use of a number of locally relevant tropical aquatic species in ecotoxicological studies. Local aquatic invertebrates and aquatic plants are raised in local water quality. These species are then used to determine the threshold of effect of either single or mixtures of contaminants (e.g. metals, pesticides) on the organisms with the resulting information being used to set limits on exposure. The outcomes are providing more relevant protections for aquatic systems, particularly in tropical and dry-tropical regions.