Waterway Management in the Torbay Catchment

A section of the Marbellup Brook in excellent condition.

Recreational values of our waterways - canoeing on
Grassmere Drain, entering Lake Powell.

What is a waterway?

A waterway can be classed as any channel in which water moves through the landscape. Waterways include natural creeks or streams and shallow or deep drains.

Waterways in the Torbay catchment

The Torbay Catchment has an extensive network of over 350 kilometres of waterways that provide a variety of functions. These range in size from winter flowing swales to the large drains, which are managed by the Water Corporation.

The main waterways are: Marbellup brook, Five Mile Creek, Seven Mile Creek, Torbay Main Drain (includes Unndiup Creek), Cuthbert Drain, North Creek Drain and Grasmere Drain.

In the upper catchment these waterways are mostly natural creeklines, however some of these have been modified to increase their drainage capacity. The flatter lower catchment is dominated by drains or highly modified natural waterways.

What role do waterways have?

Waterways transport water from one part of the landscape to another and in doing so assume a number of roles:

  • Economic: The introduction of the drainage system in Torbay developed the local agricultural economy. It encouraged new industries (horticulture) and expanded the grazing industry by permitting access to land during times that would have previously been too wet.

  • Agricultural: Water is accessed from waterways for stock watering and irrigation purposes.

  • Recreation: Canoeing, fishing, swimming and other passive recreation.

  • Environmental: Waterways provide a habitat for a wide range of birds and animals, both terrestrial and aquatic. They also provide a natural corridor for the movement of wildlife through the landscape. Healthy waterways also help filter the water that passes through them, helping improve the health of receiving water bodies.

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