The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is responsible for ensuring that Western Australia’s water resources and environment are healthy, and able to support a strong economy and thriving communities.
The departments Healthy Rivers Program conducts environmental monitoring and research to support management of our river ecosystems; to protect and improve the health of our rivers and the communities they support.
Central to the program is triennial standardised assessments at over 150 strategic river health sites, as well as assessments of unforeseen events and emerging issues, such as pollution, algal blooms, habitat disturbance and fish kills.
The South West Index of River Condition (SWIRC) is a toolkit developed for the assessment of river health in South West Western Australia. It was designed to be applied across the various system types, conditions and management needs in the region. The SWIRC incorporates standardised methods for collecting field and desktop data, and a suite of indicators designed to help in describing and interpreting river condition.
The SWIRC assessments are designed to identify important ecological values and the threats to these values; provide outputs that are easy to interpret (using indicators that respond predictably to impacts caused by humans); work at spatial and temporal scales that are appropriate for management; are cost-effective, easily replicated and scientifically defensible.
Our methods and assessment locations were chosen to investigate the range of known stressors to south-west systems, from the complex responses associated with changing climate through to catchment-scale and localised land-use pressures.