Since October 2017, we've been out collecting water samples in estuaries every month to keep on eye on their health. We collect samples from multiple locations within each estuary to look at where water from the catchment enters the estuary and how it's mixed and diluted by the oceanic water. Water samples are analysed for a range of indicators including temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, suspended sediment, and faecal bacteria.
The coastal environment is dynamic, which means the water quality can change a lot over short periods of time. Water quality also changes between seasons and is affected by events such as heavy rainfall or storms. For these reasons, it's important for us to consider the water quality over months and years, rather than just looking at individual sampling occasions.