The Serial Discontinuity Concept (SDC) proposes that dams have the potential to affect the downstream ecological condition of rivers. While the SDC was developed principally around changes to physical habitat or temperature, reservoirs also have the potential to impact on downstream water quality, including algal community structure. In the current study we examined the impacts of an extreme drawdown event on nutrient loads and algal community structure downstream of a large water storage reservoir in south-eastern Australia-Lake Hume. The lake was a net exporter of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and iron during the study period and was a net sink for manganese. Most of the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus exported from the lake was in the form of algal biomass. Processes in the lake also influenced the downstream algal community structure. Upstream of the reservoir green algae were the most dominant species; within and downstream of the reservoir cyanobacteria dominated. Much of the algal biomass found at the downstream sites appeared to originate in Lake Hume and was physically transported downstream.