Save the Vasse River community group forms in Busselton

Save the Vasse River community group forms hoping to see action taken on improving water quality in the waterway.
Save the Vasse River community group forms hoping to see action taken on improving water quality in the waterway.

A group of Busselton community members met on Wednesday evening determined to see action taken to improve the water quality in the Vasse River.

Residents have described the state of the waterway as "dangerous" and "a public health risk" with sections of the Vasse River polluted with blue green algae, manure and infested with Mexican water lilies.

Last week, resident Rob Mildwaters waded out to the middle of the river struggling to take a step forward as he was waist deep in thick sediment.

The group want to see action taken to remove the sediment so water can flow through the river again.

Mr Mildwaters said he had seen money get wasted conducting trials on the river when numerous reports always recommended to remove the sediment buildup.

"Water is trapped here, there is more crap than water," he said.

"Since the diversion drain was put in the water has become trapped, the river is no more than six kilometres long.

"They are playing games here, we are talking about a tiny strip of water it's not the Murray River."

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Last year the state government extended the Revitalising Geographe Waterways program by one year giving an additional $1.6 million to continue monitoring of the Vasse Wonnerup Wetlands.

In 2015, the former state government invested $7.15 million from Royalties for Regions into the project and another $7.65 million was invested by contributing partners.

Funding for the program was due to run out in June 2019 and was extended for another year to improve water quality, waterway health and better manage the waterways under the inter-agency Vasse Taskforce.

The project has seen scientists conduct trials to identify ecosystems and threats so actions and resources could be targetted to improve waterway health and water quality.

Since the program began in 2015, there has been a significant reduction in nutrients (phosphorous and/or nitrogen) in 75 per cent of Geographe waterways.

Improved fertiliser management over the last 10 years has also seen 2,000 kilograms a year of less phosphorous entering the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands and Geographe Bay.

Members shared their frustration that millions of taxpayer dollars had been spent conducting trials in the Geographe waterways without any real action being taken to remove the sediment buildup.

Resident Jill Walsh said government agencies had been going around in circles for years.

"Our aim is to get support," she said.

"Lots of money has gone into the river - our money.

"Run off from the farms has delivered the best fertiliser in the South West to that section of the river, it is feeding the Mexican water lilies and blue green algae.

"We need action from the Council - this is their patch - it is up to Council to coordinate other government agencies, state and federal.

"The river is an Australian resource not just a drain."