NEARLY $15 million will be flushed into Geographe waterways to implement projects to improve water quality in the area.
WA water minister Mia Davies was in Busselton to launch Revitalising Geographe Waterways and announced the state government funding across four years.
The money came from the Royalties for Regions program which invested $7.15 million into the project and a further $7.65 million came from contributing partners.
The Vasse Geographe strategy is a state government initiative overseen by the Vasse Taskforce which was established to make a difference to the health and management of the Busselton wetlands.
In 2013, thousands of fish died in the Vasse estuary and the deaths were attributed to a lack of oxygen in the water because of the poor state of the estuary.
The fish deaths sparked an independent review conducted by Professor Barry Hart who released a report titled the Current and Future Management of Water Assets in the Geographe Catchment.
The report made recommendations about the management of the waterways and how to improve responsibility and accountability.
In response to the review, the Vasse Taskforce was established in 2014 with stakeholders from GeoCatch, Department of Water, Busselton Water, Water Corporation and the City of Busselton.
The taskforce set out to improve the management of the Geographe catchment including its governance, funding, drainage, infill sewerage and research.
Since the taskforce was established money has been invested into reconnecting the Sabina and Vasse rivers to the wetlands to increase river flow and freshwater inflow.
The group have also worked with the dairy industry to improve urban drainage, revegetation and reduce local nutrient flows from septic tanks into Toby Inlet.
Ms Davies said the funding would continue the taskforce’s work and support the organisations and people who were leading the management of the wetlands in the Geographe catchment area.
“We’ve had a lot of support from the community since we formed the Vasse Taskforce, and today I have delivered on the government’s commitment to ensure the objectives of the Vasse strategy are suitably supported,” she said.
Regional development minister Terry Redman said the program recognised the value of the waterways to the region.
“Improved water quality and waterways management is important and ultimately supports social and economic growth in regional WA,” he said.
“I am pleased to see Royalties for Regions investing in initiatives such as this one that sees strong collaboration by project partners and the community to build sustainability and liveability in our regions.”