Considering waterways in planning and development
Land use and development can harm our waterways, unless it is carefully planned and managed. The Department of Water supports land planning authorities to integrate water and land use planning in ways that support population growth and state development, meet environmental needs and balance economic, community and cultural benefits.
We provide expertise and advice at all stages in the land planning process to ensure that water resources, including waterways, are appropriately considered by agencies that approve land use activities or manage land near waterways. We provide guidance to proponents about identifying, protecting managing our waterways and other water dependent ecosystems with significant value, including the quality and quantity of water they receive. This includes information about values values of our waterways, threats to waterways, flood planning and mapping, water quality protection notes, different land uses and activities, water sensitive urban design management of stormwater and groundwater, restoring our rivers and converting highly modified waterways and artificial drains to living streams.
Waterways foreshore areas
Protection and management of foreshore areas is essential for maintaining healthy waterways and wetlands, and sustaining the economic, social and economic services they provide.
The foreshore area is the land that adjoins or directly influences a waterway. More specifically, it is the area of transition between the edge of the waterway and the furthest extent of riparian vegetation, flood prone land, and riverine landforms. It may also be a negotiated area endorsed by the Department of Water. Foreshore areas are also referred to as river buffers, river corridors, riparian buffers, riparian zones, riparian corridors or stream buffers in other states. Where a foreshore area or waterway buffer is to be set aside as a reserve under planning legislation, it is generally known as a foreshore reserve.
An appropriate foreshore area is designed to:
- maintain or improve the functions, services and biological and physical features of the waterway
- enable future restoration when restoration is recommended for degraded waterways. This may include restoring meanders in a straightened waterway
- allow compatible land uses and related development activities to occur.
Vegetated foreshore areas reduce the impacts of erosion and sedimentation on waterways and remove nutrients and sediments to improve water quality. They provide aquatic, riparian (fringing) and terrestrial habitat for native flora and fauna while providing amenity and maintaining scenic quality and landscape values.
The Department of Water's current policy on foreshore areas is detailed in Operational policy: Identifying and establishing waterways foreshore areas. This policy provides a consistent approach to identifying and protecting foreshore areas.
BUWM Series Guidance Note 6 provides a summary about foreshores to assist people and organisations involved in implementing Western Australian Planning Commission's Better urban water management (2008), a planning framework developed to integrate water and land planning.
Supporting information about how to define a foreshore area or foreshore reserve is available from the following sources:
- River Restoration No.16: Determining foreshore reservesrves, which is part of the River Restoration Manual
- Water Notes 23:Determining foreshore reserves