The Armidale School's rowing team has had a slight hiccup in their preparation for coming regattas with an algal bloom affecting their practice ground, Malpas Dam.
Armidale Regional Council issued a red alert level warning and advised recreational activities should be halted until it clears. The school's rowing coordinator, Will Caldwell, said although they don't spend time in the water, they didn't feel the need to take any risks.
"The reality of the situation is we received a notice from council saying it is at red alert level which is suggesting there should be no recreational activities," he said.
"But the greatest risk there is if you are actually in the water. As a school, with our duty of care, we are not prepared to take that risk even though we are sitting above the water."
The team heads to Sydney this weekend for a regatta before another event two weeks after. In preparation for the mid-March competition, Caldwell said they have just moved their training to Grafton.
"We only really have three training sessions scheduled during the next three weeks and we are figuring we can take those three sessions and re-allocate them to a mini training camp in Grafton," he said.
"We are hoping by the time we get through that period the dam will be at an acceptable level to row in.
"Still conditions, warm conditions, lack of flow in the dam, all make it a perfect for the algae to bloom. As the weather cools down, that will kill it off and if they get more water, a bit of flow in the dam, that will help as well but in the meantime we will avoid the risk."