Keeping South West waterways healthy

With urban population on the incline in the South West, Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is becoming increasingly important to reduce the quantity of nutrients and pollutants entering waterways.  Stormwater can transport environmentally harmful substances into waterways, such as rubbish, sediment, hydrocarbons and excess nutrients. This can impact on waterway health, our local wildlife, tourism, leisure and fishing industries.

The South West Catchments Council (SWCC) has recently funded the following WSUD initiatives in the South West in partnership with local government, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.   

The City of Busselton has installed a gross pollutant trap (GPT) which will intercept and treat stormwater before it enters the internationally significant Ramsar listed Vasse Estuary.  Gross pollutants, total suspended solids, hydrocarbons and particulate bound nutrients will be reduced by the GPT resulting in better water quality and reducing impacts to wildlife and aquatic plants in the iconic estuary. 

The City of Bunbury has installed a bio-filtration garden as part of a road upgrade along the eastern side of the Leschenault Inlet near the unique and most southern expression of the White Mangroves population (Avicennia marina).  The new bio-filtration garden will not only minimise the impacts of contaminated stormwater on the estuarine environment of the Leschenault Inlet, but increase the amenity and biodiversity value of the local area by greening the urban streets with native plants.  The project also had an educational component, with the installation of interpretive signage and Bunbury high school students helping with the rain garden planting.   

In addition to water quality benefits, WSUD infrastructure such as vegetated biofilters, constructed wetlands, tree-pits etc. can also benefit local government areas by helping create a sense of place, reconnecting people with water, reducing urban heat island effects, providing traffic calming streetscapes, and improving community health and wellbeing.   

PHOTO: South West Catchments Council’s Biodiversity Project Manager, Pip Marshall, City of Bunbury’s Engineering Officer, Asher Woodward at the Koomabana Drive Rain Garden at Leschenault Inlet.

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