Water quality alerts

SA Water routinely monitors the quality of several public water resources for microbiological (eg blue green algae, E. coli, protozoa) and chemical levels and provides results to SA Health. Health advice will be issued when there is a health risk to the public.

Not all water sources in South Australia are tested for water quality.

Avoid contact with fresh water (eg rivers, lakes, creeks, dams) if it has scum or a coloured film on the surface.

Do not drink water unless you know it is safe. Untreated water can cause gastroenteritis including diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea.

Current water quality alerts

There are no current water quality alerts. Check this page regularly for updates.

Monitoring water quality

SA Water routinely monitors water quality from sites along the River Murray as part of ensuring safe drinking water. Results are also used to inform the community about water quality safety for domestic use (laundry, irrigation, bathroom etc) and recreational activities.

See the SA Water – water quality testing locations (PDF 106KB) to see where testing is regularly done.

Testing frequency

  • E. Coli - weekly to monthly, depending on location.
  • Cyanobacteria - weekly.
  • Chemicals - weekly to monthly, depending on location.

Testing other sources

SA Health and SA Water may test other water sources not listed above, and testing frequency will increase if there is a public health concern.

Blue green algae (cyanobacteria)

Blue green algae (cyanobacteria) can build up in fresh water, which can sometimes cause bright coloured surface scums or algae ‘blooms’ to form. Some blue green algae produce toxins which can be harmful to humans and animals.


Blackwater in the River Murray poses no direct public health risk. In a small number of people, blackwater may cause a skin irritation due to sensitivity to natural organic matter in the water.

It is recommended not to drink water from the River Murray at any time unless it is treated.

For more information, see Blackwater on the Department for Environment and Water website.

More information