Department of Water recognised for Urban Waterways Renewal Project


The Department of Water is the state government agency that looks after Western Australia’s water. As the lead water resources manager in Western Australia, the Department of Water has a responsibility to protect, conserve and manage water resources.

The Urban Waterways Renewal project is an example of how partnerships and good project management make real and long-lasting contributions to the Western Australia urban waterways environment. The Urban Waterways Renewal project was a collaborative project between South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL) and the Department of Water, in partnership with multiple waterways managers and stakeholders. The government agencies and community natural resource management (NRM) groups work together to develop outstanding on-ground water management outcomes in degraded waterways and urban drainage systems. The unique feature of the project has been the breadth and commitment of the stakeholder partnership, championed by community groups and underpinned by the rigorous science and engineering advice and project management provided by the Department of Water, and the involvement of a vast number of volunteers.

The Western Australian Department of Water’s Urban Water Branch managed the overall project including project coordination, provision of executive support and liaison with the Australian Government Department of the Environment. The branch also provided engineering advice for design of features such as living streams, bio-retention/treatment area and bio filters; and reviewed and provided departmental endorsement of designs. The department’s Water Science Branch managed the water quality monitoring and evaluation of the projects. The Department of Water’s project management, engineering and scientific skills guided the successful completion of this five-year project, which has achieved outstanding results and establishes a blue print for the department’s future collaboration.

The Urban Waterways Renewal project has contributed to total water cycle management by optimising water quality, efficiency and reuse outcomes in an integrated manner. As a result, the Department of Water has been recognised for a Sustainability award in the 2016 Australian Business Awards.

Mike Rowe, Director General WA Department of Water said, “This sustainability award recognises the work achieved by the Western Australian Department of Water and its predecessors in developing the tools and approaches to managing the State’s rivers and estuaries.

“Assessment of the values, threats and condition of our waterways is a core element of the department’s function, and helps us determine the requirements to support our aquatic environments while regulating water use and managing the impacts of land use and climate. The South West Index of River Condition (SWIRC) provides us with an ecologically robust and accurate assessment protocol to determine and adapt best practice for sustainable management of waterways.”