Department of Water, WA

Department of Water, WA has been recognised as an ABA100® Winner for Business Sustainability in The Australian Business Awards 2016. The Australian Business Award for Business Sustainability recognises organisations that have successfully implemented initiatives that demonstrate leadership and commitment to sustainable business practices.

“This sustainability award recognises the work achieved by the Western Australian Department of Water and its predecessors in developing the tools and approaches to managing the State’s rivers and estuaries.

“Assessment of the values, threats and condition of our waterways is a core element of the department’s function, and helps us determine the requirements to support our aquatic environments while regulating water use and managing the impacts of land use and climate.

“The South West Index of River Condition (SWIRC) provides us with an ecologically robust and accurate assessment protocol to determine and adapt best practice for sustainable management of waterways.”

Mike Rowe, Director General, Department of Water, WA

The Department of Water is the state government agency that looks after Western Australia’s water. As the lead water resources manager in Western Australia, the Department of Water has a responsibility to protect, conserve and manage water resources. The department supports liveable communities, enables prosperous businesses and protects water resources and environments, while recognising climate and social change, population increase and economic development.

The department uses its expertise and recognised science capability to deliver a range of key water resource management services. It also delivers strategic priority projects that respond to opportunities and generate new and innovative solutions for water management. Sufficient water of the right quality is essential for thriving communities and economic growth. The department works to ensure the government, industry and community have timely knowledge of resources suitable for drinking water, agriculture, mining and industry in areas where it is most needed.

South West Index of River Conditions (SWIRC) is a toolkit designed to provide standardised methods for collecting, analysing and scoring river conditions in the south-west of Western Australia. It is an index which has standardised the science behind river health, whilst being designed for application across a range of purposes and is cost-efficient. The SWIRC uses a series of indicators to examine six broad ecological themes that underpin ecological condition of waterways. The SWIRC studies have made a significant contribution to the more efficient and sustainable management of our river systems. The SWIRC, and the studies which have been undertaken using this diagnostic tool, have significantly improved The Department of Water’s understanding of the river systems. The evidence gathered is used to improve their management of water resources which will ultimately benefit the entire community.