The Phosphorus Awareness Project (PAP) is a campaign that educates the community about the impact of too many nutrients in the Swan and Canning River systems and wetlands.

The PAP seeks to achieve a decrease in nutrient loads and algal blooms through changes in community and industry behaviour and practices resulting in sustainable rivers and wetlands, rich in biodiversity, throughout the Perth Metropolitan Area.

The PAP aims to reduce the amount of nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) people contribute to waterways through stormwater drains, groundwater and catchment run-off by:

  • Making the connections for people between their backyards, the stormwater drainage and groundwater systems and water bodies such as the Swan and Canning Rivers;
  • Promoting appropriate fertiliser practises for the soils of the region – Fertilise Wise. The lack of general awareness of high nutrient levels in fertilisers is a target for the campaign;
  • Educating householders to use Phosphorous-free detergents, particularly in unsewered areas of the catchment, and to consider the contribution of pet faeces to nutrient loads in the catchment as well as bread fed to water birds; and
  • Through education the group targets the community, schools, local government and industry to encourage them to decrease their nutrient outputs.

The PAP is managed by Project Coordinator, Natasha Bowden, is hosted by SERCUL and supported by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

The current nutrient load in the Swan Canning is 251 tonnes of nitrogen and 26 tonnes of phosphorus per year.  We need to reduce the nitrogen load by 49% and the phosphorus load by 46% to achieve acceptable river health. Recent research by DBCA’s Biodiversity and Conservation Science found that we’ve reduced nutrient inputs by approximately 20%, but we still have a long way to go.

Learn more about the PAP and how you can help reduce nutrients flowing into our waterways click here.