TWEED water – under threat.
TWEED water – under threat.

Tweed on verge of drought

THE entire NSW north Coast – including the Tweed – is on the verge of being declared drought stricken.

The North Coast Livestock Health and Pest Authority says the region had a drought status of “marginal deteriorating” for November and again for December and has advised: “ If this continues, the district may officially be declared in drought”.

And one of its district veterinarians Phil Kemsley has warned that with the prevailing hot and dry conditions water quality is becoming an issue for some landowners with toxic blue green algae affecting waterways from the foothills of the Border Ranges at Tyalgum to the Richmond River in Casino.

Mr Kemsley said there were reports that stock water sources in the Casino area may also be affected by algal blooms and has warned farmers to take special care.

“Blue-algae can make water appear as though green paint has been put in it” he said.

“The water surface also can look like an oil slick.

“Depending on the species of algae, stock can develop nervous signs or liver failure after drinking affected water. There are also implications for human health.”

Mr Kemsley said if landowners suspect that there is a bloom on a dam or in another water source they should contact the North Coast LHPA for advice.

“Botulism can also become a problem as water quality declines,” he said. “Eight cattle on one holding died in recent weeks as a result of Botulism. Contaminated water in a farm dam was strongly suspected to be the cause.

“A vaccine is available and producers should seriously consider vaccinating against this disease.”

On Friday Tweed Shire Council announced it had begun carting water to Tyalgum due to a significant blue-green algae bloom at Tyalgum Weir and low flows in the Oxley River.

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