logo Water Resources Assessment and Enhancement February 2002

Field trip The Water Resources Assessment and Enhancement Project, funded through the Natural Heritage Trust and the Water and Rivers Commission, ran between 1997 and 2001. It included a component to assess environmental water quality within estuaries and catchments as water quality data from catchments along the south coast was sparse. The scope of the program included the following estuaries: Walpole/Nornalup, Beaufort, Wellstead, Gordon, St Mary's, Culham and the Oldfield and the following catchments: the Upper Gordon, Pallinup, Upper Gairdner, Oldfield and the Lake Warden system at Esperance.

Community researchers Estuary monitoring trips were conducted quarterly by the Water and Rivers Commission with the catchment waterways monitored by local people, contracted and trained in the appropriate skills. Water samples collected were analysed for total nitrogen and total phosphorus. Estuary samples were also analysed for phytoplankton content and concentration. On site measurements included disolved oxygen, salinity, temperature, pH and clarity as well as observations of algal growth and sediment. Most of these data are available from the rivercare data page

The overall aims of the project were to assess the chemical and physical nature of surface water in streams throughout representative catchments and to collect information that will assist with management of the waterways by revealing the relative condition of the streams and rivers of the south coast. In addition it is anticipated that the results will greatly assist with the establishment of acceptable water quality guidelines for the protection of the stream and wetland environments in south coast catchments. An important objective is to ensure that local communities have and continue to have means of determining the state and ongoing condition of the their waterways.

The local water quality coordinator's role was to provide a community contact for the Water and Rivers Commission, to collect water samples and measurements at specified sites according to a predetermined plan and to assist in providing a comprehensive picture of water quality across the catchment.

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