Western Australian waterways have many ecological, cultural, social and economic values.
Waterways in Western Australia have intrinsic ecological value and also provide a wide range of ecosystem services.
Ecosystem services result from a waterway's hydrology, landforms, vegetation, fauna and micro-organisms functioning together as an ecosystem to provide benefits for people, our cities and communities, the economy and environment.
Ecological valuesShow more
The intrinsic ecological values of waterways include a diverse range of aquatic fauna such as fish and invertebrates (such as crayfish, crabs, snails, octopus, shellfish, and aquatic macroinvertebrates), dolphins, rakali (water rats), water birds and migratory wading birds, frogs and reptiles (e.g. snakes, turtles and crocodiles).
Waterways act as refuges for terrestrial fauna species during times of drought and as corridors for wildlife movement and plant dispersal. Waterways also support a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial plant species and vegetation communities - see aquatic and riparian vegetation, macroalgae and seagrass.
These ecological values contribute to the south-west of Western Australia being one of the world's 35 biodiversity hotspots, which include some of the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth. They also contribute to the large number of waterways and water bodies that have been identified as high value waterways.
Economic benefitsShow more
The economic benefits provided by healthy waterway ecosystems include:
- clean water for drinking and domestic use
- water appropriate for maintaining public spaces including sports grounds
- water appropriate for agriculture and industry (to produce food and goods)
- maintaining soil fertility by inundating agricultural land
- movement of water through the landscape for irrigation, drainage and flood management
- commercial enterprise such as transport of goods and passengers, commercial fishing and aquaculture, recreation industries (e.g. sailing, water skiing) and tourism
- control of pests (e.g. mosquito larvae eaten by native fish)
- increased property values due to amenity and visual appeal.
More informationShow more
We consider the values of our waterways in the way we regulate and manage the environment and water resources. For example, we assess the values of waterways when we are developing water allocation plans; and we set and review allocation limits, so the resource and its environmental, cultural and social values are protected.
See also our role in waterway management.
For further information about waterways see: