Water Quality

Sediment plume following dredging of
the Port River at Outer Harbour in 2005


View of the gulf looking north from Myponga

What is water quality like in your part of the gulf?

Population growth and industrial development, particularly along the Adelaide coastline, have caused major and detrimental changes to the gulf locally.

Port Adelaide and the Port River were a major focus of shipping and manufacturing activity for a very long time before pollution and waste management controls were introduced. Sediments in the Port River tell the city’s industrial history and carry a heavy legacy of pollutants.

Despite this the river now supports a rich diversity of life – dolphins, sealions and fur seals, breeding colonies of seabirds and all-important mangroves.

Until about the 1950s the beaches close to Adelaide were clear year round, and seagrasses extended into the shallows close to shore. Now the water at our beaches is clear only after weeks of calm weather. The reason for this is the large amount of fine sediment that has been washed into the gulf after rain. The silt has settled along the coastal strip, and is readily mobilised in windy conditions.

In other parts of the gulf, and off Kangaroo Island, water quality is still pristine.

The Friends of Gulf St Vincent have a project monitoring water quality around the gulf using the Secchi Disk. If you live near one of the many jetties around the gulf, and would like to be involved in this project,