Assessing the economic impact of harmful and nuisance algal blooms to the Australian water industry


18-month WaterRA project to assess the economic impact of harmful algal blooms on catchment monitoring and management (for drinking and recreational water), water treatment (including recycled water), and the delivery of rural domestic, stock, and environmental water.

Changes to climate patterns and land use have increased the frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms in Australia. In 2000, the cost of bloom mitigation, management and treatment to extractive water users was estimated to be $95 million AUD/year. Twenty years later, it is time to re-assess and update this figure..

Focused Research Questions:

1. Which economic tools can be applied to assess the impacts of harmful algae?
2. What are the main business areas where harmful algae impact the water industry and what is the cost breakdown in those areas?
3. Can we estimate the overall cost of algae to the Australian water industry?

Key Outcomes:

Review of economic tools used to measure impact of harmful algae and costs associated with monitoring, operation, and treatment (WaterRA1125, M1)
Assessment of water quality guidelines and reporting requirements relating to harmful blooms (WaterRA1125, M2)


Bojan Tamburic
Greg Leslie
Tess Stafford
Naras Rao
Rita Henderson
Richard Stuetz


University of New South Wales | Melbourne Water | WaterNSW | Hunter Water | Goulburn Valley Water | GWM Water | Victoria DHHSWaterRA

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