ECU team to monitor climate impacts on Perth's wetlands


The Western Australian Government is partnering with Edith Cowan University to monitor the ecological condition of Perth's urban wetlands in response to groundwater use and climate change.

ECU has been appointed through a competitive process managed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to conduct wetland vegetation and macroinvertebrate and water quality studies on the Gnangara Mound in 2018.

The Gnangara groundwater system is Perth's largest and most reliable fresh water resource and provides almost half of metropolitan Perth's water supply. The system also supports Perth's natural lakes and wetlands which are some of the most biologically diverse and ecologically important areas on the Swan Coastal Plain.

Surface waters in many of the wetlands supported by the Gnangara groundwater system have declined over the last 30 years, and ongoing assessment helps target management responses.

Responses to declining water levels so far include reducing the amount of groundwater abstracted for public water supply, changing abstraction patterns to limit take from sensitive areas that affect wetlands and locating groundwater replenishment sites.

Information from the ecological monitoring and investigation is an important component of the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation's reporting to the Office of Environmental Protection Authority on the status of key groundwater dependent ecosystems.

Water Minister Dave Kelly said that since the assessment work started over two decades ago, climate change has reduced the average winter rainfall by around 25 per cent of the long-term average over that time.

"For this reason, we have given the greenlight for further groundwater replenishment to support the use of this system for public water supply and we are working with water users to be more water efficient."

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