Bayswater Brook Catchment

The Bayswater Brook Catchment is one of the largest urban catchments in the Perth Metropolitan area, with an area of approximately 27,000 hectares.  Many of the current drains were once natural watercourses that have been modified for use as drainage channels. Everything that enters the drains in the catchment is discharged into the Swan and Canning Rivers, and local wetlands.

Why is it a problem?

The Bayswater Brook is the fifth highest contributor of nutrients into the Swan River. High nutrient levels can have serious environmental consequences.

Bayswater Brook is mainly situated on Bassendean sands, which are poor at retaining nutrients. This means any nutrients applied to the surface will seep through the soil and enter the groundwater, which eventually enters water bodies within the catchment and causes problems.

Plants require nutrients, specifically nitrogen and phosphorous to grow. However, in high quantities these nutrients can cause water quality problems, including algal blooms. The increased algae growth decreases the amount of sunlight available to other plant life in the water, which prevents photosynthesis from occurring and can lead to fish deaths.

Algae can grow until it has used up all nutrient supplies, and will then start to die.  In the process of decomposition, the algae will consume all the available oxygen in the water, meaning other organisms that need oxygen to survive will either have to leave the ecosystem or die.

Water bodies that have algal blooms have a foul smell due to the rotting organic matter, making them unsuitable for recreational purposes. This occurs periodically in the Swan River and local wetlands.

What is being done?

The Bayswater Brook Working Group, made up of representatives from the City of Bayswater, Swan River Trust, Perth Region Natural Resource Management (Perth NRM), Water Corporation, Department of Water, and CSIRO are working together to reduce the amount of nutrients entering the Swan River by implementing a Local Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Bayswater Brook.

The plan targets the current ecological condition, water quality and pollutant loads of the catchment, and focuses on five stages to help us achieve our goals - prevention, minimisation, reduction, amelioration (an improvement) and treatment.

Prevention is better than cure and the City is enforcing techniques to ensure positive environmental outcomes and water quality improvement.

Living streams

The Morley Activity Centre is located within the catchment of the Bayswater Brook and has been identified as a priority catchment for water quality improvement. It is a hardened catchment with poor drainage outcomes, and the City intends to transform this by creating living streams and improving urban water design to positively impact water quality, increase biodiversity, and provide much needed blue-green space for the community.

Peters Place Reserve

A drainage site in Morley is about to be transformed into a micro wetland thanks to a partnership between the City and Water Corporation. The Peters Place Reserve micro wetland will continue to serve its purpose as a flood prevention site, while providing an attractive community asset with significant environmental benefits.  Designed to mimic a natural wetland, native sedges and rushes will be planted to create habitat for birds, frogs, and other wildlife. 

Russell Street Park 

Russell Street Park is Morley's newest public open space. In addition to two living streams, the park features a ten-station ninja obstacle course and huge mural. The Department of Biodiversity, Attractions and Conservation  contributed $50,000 towards the conversion of the area alongside the existing drainage basin into a series of living streams that will improve existing water quality, biodiversity and work to green the area.

Jakobsons Way

A drain between Walter Road and Jakobsons Way is now a living, breathing wetland for the community to enjoy. Solar lighting and new fencing has been installed along the laneway to make the area more welcoming. The pump station adjacent to the drain has been transformed into public art by artist Peter Ryan as part of Water Corporation’s Splash of Colour Community Art Program. 

What can you do to help?

In Your Home

A lot of the cleaners you probably have around your home will be toxic and contain high levels of phosphorus, which are harmful to our waterways. These cleaning products end up in our rivers and wetlands through washing cars, clothes, dishes and watering gardens.

Think about the jobs you do around your home - do you know where your water goes? There are alternative cleaners that you can use in your home that are not only better for your health, but also for the environment.

Here are some alternatives you can try! 

But remember, if you are allergic to any of these products, consult your doctor before use. Also, test a small, hidden patch to make sure no adverse reactions occur.

  • Bicarbonate of Soda - cleans and deodorises.   You can use this to clean plastic surfaces, cups/plates and pots/pans, brass and copper, your bathroom (baths, basins and toilets), the oven, carpet and even get rid of smells from the refrigerator and nappies! Simply use a damp cloth to rub the bicarb over the surface- if the powder is too wet it won’t work.
  •  Lemon - cuts grease and freshens.   Lemon or lime contains citric acid that leaves a fresh clean smell and can be used for cleaning and bleaching plates, cutlery, glasses, furniture, copper or getting rid of smells.
  •  Salt - disinfectant.   Salt can be used to polish brass and copper.
  •  Vinegar – cuts grease and freshens.   White vinegar is a great cleaning agent as it is colourless. It can be used for a variety of purposes including cleaning glass, chrome/brass/copper, floors (tiles, slate and lino), windows, mouldy surfaces and bathrooms (baths/basins and toilets).


Cleaning windows and lino:  mix equal parts of vinegar and warm water- easy!

Scouring powder:  mix equal parts of bicarb soda and salt- great for an abrasive cleaner!

Around Your Garden

Most fertilisers contain phosphates and other nutrients which enter our river through stormwater drains or even through the groundwater by seeping into soil.

So the next time you apply fertiliser to your garden be fertiliser wise and think about these two things;

1. Does your garden REALLY need it?

2. Is it phosphorus free?

Check out the City of Bayswater Local Native Plants Guide for tips on local plants, watering, pruning, mulching and fertilisers. It also has ideas for garden designs.

Here are some other ways you can help:

  •  Only apply fertilisers when nutrient deficiency can be seen, such as yellow patches.
  •  Use fertilisers sparingly and ensure they are low soluble phosphorus.
  •  Sweep paved areas clean rather than hosing them down, which also saves water.
  •  Don’t plant trees that shed their leaves seasonally (deciduous trees) as the leaves may enter the waterways and contribute nutrients to the system as they breakdown.
  •  Use fertiliser in spring/autumn when the grass grows fast and it reduces rain washing it away.
  •  Grow native plants! Exotic species are not suited to our soils and climate and use more water.
  •  Worm farms, compost and mulch return nutrients to your garden and improve the soils ability to retain nutrients and water.
With Your Pets

When you take your dog for a walk, do you pick up the droppings?

If droppings are left on footpaths, parks and gardens, this can be washed into stormwater drains and end up in our rivers and wetlands. Within residential areas, about 10-20% of the phosphorus loads in our waterways are from pet faeces, which adds to the problem of algal blooms.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Pick up after your dog by carrying a plastic bag with you when you go for walks.
  •  Create a worm farm to compost the droppings, but DON’T put the compost on plants that you will eat like your vegetable garden.
  •  Use a rubbish bin to dispose of the droppings.
Washing Your Car

Do you wash your car on your driveway? Cars that are washed on hard surfaces are contributing pollution to our rivers and wetlands. The soapy water runs off your driveway and into street drains, which are linked to our rivers! This waste water is adding excess dirt and nutrients to our waterways.

Here are some ways you can help:

  •  Wash it on the lawn as the grass uses the nutrients, instead of being washed down the drain.
  •  If your house does not have a lawn, why not wash your car with a friend who does.
  •  Use a commercial car wash bay as the wastewater is treated before it is disposed of.
  •  Use a bucket to save water and switch the hose off when you are not using it.
  •  If you use detergents use them sparingly and make sure they are phosphorus free.
  •  Better still just use some water and elbow grease!
  •  Do the environment a favour and only wash your car once a month.
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