Rowing ACT statement on bushfires & Canberra conditions

Firstly our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the bushfires ravaging Australia, particularly south-eastern Australia. The devastation these bushfires have wrought across the country is truly heartbreaking and Rowing ACT will be working with Rowing Australia and other state rowing bodies to see what fundraising and support we can provide. Those wanting to donate to the relief effort can do so via the Red Cross at https://www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/disaster-relief-and-recovery-donate#donate. You can also donate goods via Givit at http://givit.org.au/.

Although bushfires have not spread to the ACT so far, the smoke from surrounding bushfires has meant our air quality has consistently been among the worst in the world over the last few weeks. Rowing Australia has moved the Men’s National Training Centre to Lake Barrington in Tasmania, and has closed their head office in Yarralumla for the foreseeable future. Rowing ACT staff will work out of the Rowing Australia building as conditions allow; we will still be available during business hours via phone and email. Our High Performance camp has been moved from Jindabyne to Sydney; we would like to thank those people from Jindabyne, Rowing Victoria and Rowing NSW, as well as those from Mosman & Nagambie Rowing Clubs, and the Queensland Academy of Sport, who have helped us with this given the ever-changing conditions. Staff will continue to monitor conditions with pathway camp and state team training details to come over the coming weeks.

Given the poor air quality (the Air Quality Index at Civic at 7am on 6 January was 1783, nearly 9 times the hazardous level), Rowing ACT recommends that people stay off the water until conditions improve. Up-to-date air quality information can be found on the ACT Health page at https://www.health.act.gov.au/about-our-health-system/population-health/environmental-monitoring/monitoring-and-regulating-air. The poor air quality has meant that the AIS and ACTAS are periodically closing their facilities; updates can be found on the ACTAS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/actacademyofsport/, and the AIS Aquatic & Fitness Centre Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AISAquaticFitness/. The AIS position statement on smoke pollution and exercise can be found at https://ais.gov.au/position_statements#smoke_pollution_and_exercise. This position statement recommends rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities when the AQI is over 100. Please ensure that the air quality is good enough for any on or off-water activities you take part in.

Lake levels are also very low, meaning that if you do get out on the water then you will need to keep a close eye out for submerged objects that may now be close to the surface. Given the lack of serious rain forecast for the immediate future & continuing poor air quality forecast, any clubs or schools due to host rowing camps during January should contact the visiting clubs or schools if they have not already done so and suggest alternative venues.

Those concerned about the conditions in the ACT can keep track of current alerts via the ACT Emergency Services Agency website at https://esa.act.gov.au/. We ask that everyone stay safe during this time.