The survival and subsequent growth potential of Anabaena spp. and other filamentous cyanobacteria and the cells of Aulacoseira spp. (diatom) and Ceratium hirundinella (dinoflagellate) following passage through the Multi Level Inlet Tower (MLIT) and offtake works at Chaffey Reservoir in New South Wales, Australia was investigated in late summer. The study aimed to test whether the phytoplankton cells were destroyed or otherwise rendered less viable during passage through the outlet works. The reservoir was strongly thermally stratified with a shallow surface mixed layer, which contributed to considerable temporal variability in the numbers of phytoplankton cells present immediately opposite the intake portal of the outlet works. To compensate, considerable replicate sampling was undertaken both upstream and downstream of the MLIT. Results indicate limited destruction of cyanobacteria, with fewer cells present immediately downstream compared to upstream. Greater destruction of cells was indicated at lower mean daily discharge rates compared to higher discharge rates. Filament lengths of both cyanobacteria and Aulacoseira were also reduced during passage. There was no apparent reduction in Ceratium cell number. Laboratory incubation studies on surviving cells collected downstream indicated no impairment on the viability of any taxa. Calculations of rates-of-strain likely to be experienced by the phytoplankton as they transited through the offtake revealed very high stress being applied to the filaments and cells at the valve, and within the spillway sections of the works. These were several orders of magnitude greater than published values shown to disrupt cells and filaments, and to impair viability for subsequent growth in laboratory studies. However, exposure times to the high rates-of-strain at Chaffey Reservoir were brief, which may reduce the impacts of the high turbulence. The conclusions were that unless cyanobacterial cell destruction during passage through an outlet works can be shown to be more effective at larger reservoirs, the withdrawal of warm, cyanobacterial infested waters from close to the surface is unlikely to provide an acceptable management action for the prevention of cold water pollution downstream.
- Cold water pollution