Hawkesbury Watch wins Green Globe Award

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Hornsby Shire Council’s Hawkesbury Watch program won the 2018 NSW Green Globe - Public Sector Leadership Award.

This award recognises outstanding NSW state and local government departments and agencies for excellence in integrating strong environmental practices.

Hawkesbury Watch is a program unique to Australian estuaries using remote monitoring buoys to collect real-time information on water conditions in the Hawkesbury River.

The community can access the data from the buoys through Council’s website, allowing residents and visitors to stay informed about swimming conditions and the general health of the waterway.

“The Hawkesbury is a brilliant natural asset right at our doorstep, and what our Natural Resources team has accomplished to ensure that the water quality and state of the estuary is closely monitored is just fantastic,” Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock said.

Hawkesbury Watch began in a tinnie on the Hawkesbury River in 2001, when a group of Hornsby Shire Council’s environmental scientists were trying to find an alternative to traditional water sampling and lab analysis, where information could easily be a couple of days old.

Today, Hawkesbury Watch is a successfully established, unique system providing council’s scientists and the community with daily reports on swimming conditions, estuary health, water quality, algal blooms and interactive access to data via the website

Six real-time water quality probes are permanently moored in the estuary between Wisemans Ferry and Broken Bay collecting water quality data every 15 minutes.

The probes take a range of measurements used to predict the likelihood of bacterial contamination at 13 typical recreational sites along the river.

“What a great way to avoid potential swimming related illnesses by finding out in real time if pollution is likely in the area,” Mayor Ruddock said.

“Thanks to Hawkesbury Watch Council is able to keep the community updated on current health and swimming conditions and help to ensure this river, known for its tranquillity and beauty, will remain healthy and enjoyable for generations to come.”

For more information visit

Hornsby Shire Council’s environmental scientists are regularly checking the monitoring buoys.