Margaret RiverWetlands and waterways throughout the shire are highly valued by the community. The waterways, wetlands and other water dependent ecosystems including karst systems are fundamental to the regions global significance as a biodiversity hotspot.

There are a significant number of wetlands and waterways throughout the Shire. Wetlands include Kilcarnup swamps, Wilderness drive swamps, Margaret River swamps, Devils pool on Boodjidup Brook, Lake Davies wetlands and Turner Brook Wetlands. There is one small river, three creeks and eleven minor creeks that drain the coast in the Cape to Cape area. The Blackwood and Scott Rivers are two significant rivers in the southern portion of the Shire. Both of these rivers lead to the Hardy Inlet, the largest estuarine environment within the Shire and noted for its habitat values.

Water quality in the Margaret River itself is considered to be good, due in no small part to the fact it originates in state forest and has a relatively continuous buffer of fringing vegetation for much of its length (Middle 2003).

Inland waters are usually considered within the context of their drainage basins, catchments and discharge zones. These systems are essential for maintaining biodiversity and regulating catchment water balances. They also provide economic and social benefits by providing drinking water and irrigation water supplies, supporting food production and underpinning a diverse array of recreational, spiritual, inspirational, scientific, cultural and educational values. For further information refer to WA Water Online.

Catchment management

A drainage basin is an extent of land where water from rain drains downhill into a body of water, such as a river, lake, estuary, wetland or ocean. The drainage basin includes both the streams and rivers that convey the water as well as the land surfaces from which water drains into those channels, and is separated from adjacent basins by a drainage divide.

The drainage basin acts like a funnel, collecting all the water within the area covered by the basin and channeling it into a waterway. Each drainage basin is separated topographically from adjacent basins by a geographical barrier such as a ridge, hill or mountain which is known as a water divide.  Catchment management programs consider all land use activities within that catchment or drainage basin as they impact on the receiving water body.

Vist the Land and Water Australia  and the Department of Water websites for useful publications on catchment management issues. Look for publications titles on water notes and water facts.

River action plans

River action plans have been prepared for many of our local waterways including:

  • Margaret River
  • Ellen Brook
  • Cowaramup Brook
  • Wilyabrup
  • Boodjipup Brook

Contact the Nature Conservation Margaret River for details

  • Chapman Brook
  • West Bay Creek
  • Mcleod Creek

Contact the Lower Blackwood Landcare group for details.

Dams and soaks

Farm dams can provide a good opportunity to recreate wetland habitats.  Convert your farm dam into a living wetland with ideas on how to do this provided in the brochure below.

Water planning

In 2007 all surface water areas within the Shire of  Augusta Margaret River were proclaimed due to the increasing pressures on these water resources and a need for better management. All groundwater resources in the region have also proclaimed.

Proclaimed areas

In proclaimed areas under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914 it is illegal to take water from a watercourse or groundwater aquifer without a licence. Applications for water licenses are made through the regional offices of the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

Are you planning to construct a dam?

Prior to applying to the council for a dam development it is important that you contact the regional office of the Department of Water to determine if a water licence is required. Contact details are:

Department of Water (DoW)
South West Office
35-39 Mc Combe Rd, Bunbury WA 6231
PO Box 261, Bunbury, WA 6230
Phone 08 9726 4111
Fax 08 9726 4100

Geographe-Capes District Office
72 Duchess Street, Busselton WA 6280
PO Box 269 Busselton WA 6280
Phone 08 9781 0188
Fax 08 9754 4335

Through the proclamation process the Department of Water set allocation limits for the amount of water that can be extracted from each creek line within the Shire. The Department of water assessment will determine if there is sufficient water available in the system to take. This takes into consideration water requirements to maintain environmental flows in the creek line to maintain the ecological function of the system. If granted a water licence you will be given security over that water.

Will all water use need licensing?

Domestic use and stock watering do not require licensing however it is always a good idea to talk to the Department of Water to ensure that the correct process is followed.

Further information

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Contact the Shire

Postal Address

PO Box 61
Margaret River WA 6285

Margaret River

41 Wallcliffe Road
Monday to Friday
Ph 08 9780 5255
Fax 08 9757 2512


66 Allnut Terrace
Tues, Wed, Thurs
9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm
Ph 08 9780 5255


For contact details for fire, police, bushfire brigades, hospitals, storm damage, power outages, etc please see the emergency contact page

National Relay Service

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment call us through the National Relay Service

Change of details form

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