News & Media releases

Flood response update for the Swan Canning Riverpark

Recent heavy and widespread rainfall in the Avon catchment is continuing to deliver unusually high flows into the Swan Canning Riverpark.  Below is an update from the Department of Parks and Wildlife on how we are responding to these conditions. Regular updates will be posted on the Department’s notifications and alerts webpage.

Water Quality and Contact Recreation Alert

The public are reminded that following heavy rainfall across the catchment many pollutants from streets, gardens and farms are flushed into our waterways.

High levels of waterborne bacteria are being detected in some areas of the Swan Canning Riverpark. This can make the water unsafe for contact recreation.

Standard precautions are to avoid swimming for three days after significant rainfall, however with flooding still current, the Department of Health advice is to avoid contact recreation in the waterway for at least a few more days. Contact recreation is defined as recreational activities involving a significant risk of ingestion of water, including wading by children, swimming, water skiing, diving.

Pets and livestock should also be kept out of the water at this time. 

Visit the Department of Health WA website for information about Swan and Canning rivers bacterial monitoring and tips for healthy swimming.

Environmental monitoring

Waterway monitoring is being undertaken weekly. Reports on microalgae activity  and environmental conditions in the Swan and the Canning rivers can be found on the Parks and Wildlife website.

Widespread foaming and coloured water is currently being observed in the waterway as far downstream as Fremantle. The foam is caused by the breakdown of organic material.

Riverpark notifications and alerts will be used where algal species occur at concentrations that may be harmful to aquatic life or human health and requires public advice.

There are no current alerts for the Riverpark related to harmful algal species.

Increased water levels

A minor flood warning remains current for the Swan River. Levels are likely to increase within the Riverpark as flood peaks from the Avon Catchment move downstream in the coming days.  Information on any flood watches or warnings for the Avon River and Swan River are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Recreational fishing

Standard Department of Health advice is that the public should not to consume wild shellfish (eg: mussels and cockles) from the Swan Canning Riverpark, as the quality cannot be assured.

For further advice regarding consumption of fish, prawns or crabs from the Swan and Canning rivers please contact the Department of Health WA.

In-water hazards

Parks and Wildlife officers continue to inspect the river for floating navigation hazards and are removing these hazards where possible. A number of navigation warnings have been issued by the Department of Transport regarding damaged navigation aids.

Mariners are advised to navigate the Swan and Canning rivers with caution and skiers are advised to postpone any skiing activities until the flood waters recede. Visit the Department of Transport’s website navigation warnings for further information.


Parks and Wildlife is prioritising the assessment of foreshore areas affected by flood waters with local governments as river water levels decrease.  Some parks and roads adjacent to the river have been closed and people should contact the relevant local government for further information.


The Department of Health is warning people to take precautions against biting insects following the recent widespread rainfall and flooding events across Western Australia.  Visit the Department of Health’s website prevent mosquito bites at home for further information.

Emergency information

Further details can be found on the  Emergency WA website