The sandbar at the entrance of the Vasse Diversion Drain in Busselton has been opened as part of a trial to improve water quality in warmer months.
During summer, water quality in the lower parts of the drain can deteriorate due to low flows, warm water temperature, and high levels of nutrients. At this time of year, most of the outlet between the drain and the ocean closes up, reducing water flow in this section of the drain.
The opening of the sandbar last week follows a series of initiatives to revitalise the Vasse Diversion Drain to improve water quality, visual amenity and liveability.
Prior to opening the sandbar, water quality samples were taken by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and will be repeated as the drain has time to flush.
Results from the water quality monitoring will indicate what impact the opening has had on improving conditions in the drain, while drone footage being taken before and after the operation will show if a visual improvement can be observed.
Dr Sally Talbot MLC, Vasse Taskforce Chair said the trial opening is part of the McGowan Government’s Revitalising Geographe Waterways program, which has been successful in improving water quality by opening sandbars at Toby Inlet and Wonnerup Inlet.
“The trial is backed by years of data that we’ve collected about how to improve the health of our waterways, but it’s vitally important that we listen to the feedback of people living in the local area when we do the assessment of the science” Dr Talbot said.
The trial is part of the Vasse Taskforce’s Revitalising Geographe Waterways partnership between DWER and GeoCatch, the City of Busselton and Water Corporation – with the local community also invited to provide feedback on the sandbar opening via an online survey.
“I encourage the community to complete the survey and tell us if they have noticed any water quality improvements in the drain, and any other impacts from the sandbar opening, which will help us determine if the trial should be repeated in future years” Dr Talbot said.
For more information, or to complete the community survey, visit the Revitalising Geographe Waterways website at rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/rethinking-drainage/