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The Future

The diadem, the glory of the city is the River, that magnificent stretch of water which must for ever be preserved a pleasure ground, a picture, a lung for the citizens…. Finally, at a day that has yet to come, a verdant stretch of parkland, grouped with shady trees along its drives and walks, lapped by the ripples of the Swan, and fresh and sweet and pure with the breeze from the water. The last picture belongs to the future, but is should be looked forward to as a certainty …. Much that the other capital cities of Australia can boast of our city lacks; but the river and its frontages are possessions that may compensate for everything else, if the latter is turned to its rightful use and maintained intact for the truest profit and advantage of this and all future generations.[West Australian, 22 April 1890]

The Swan River is an icon, loved for what it has offered to the community over generations. However, the Swan River is a River under stress. The high level of nutrients is the major issue, with the excess nutrients from a range of sources driving algal blooms and together with low oxygen conditions, causing seasonal fish deaths and other impacts. These problems are made worse by erosion and sedimentation, the altered river flow and with dredging, the loss of fringing riverine vegetation.

The effects of climate change in the form of reduced rainfall and streamflow and increased marine water intrusion into the upper reaches of the river, will increase the river’s vulnerability, particularly with low oxygen levels.

The River has been shaped over time by a variety of interests, philosophies and goals. Indigenous and local knowledge has often been ignored in past decision making but the community has always been willing to take action for its protection. We can together, by understanding the present situation and the past, make more informed decisions for the future.

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Page last updated: Tuesday 23 November 2010 by Nick Cowie Asset ID 13164
Editors for this page nick 2nd account


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