Vasse Diversion Drain Upgrade

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The drain will be widened to hold more water for flood protection.

Water Corporation is upgrading the Vasse Diversion Drain to increase flood protection in Busselton.

Floods have continued to affect the Busselton community since the drain was built in the 1920’s, and although we have been making smaller modifications to the Busselton drainage system to mitigate flooding, these options have now run out.

The Vasse Diversion Drain starts just North of the Busselton Golf Course (refer to map under Document Library) and extends for around 6.3 km north to the ocean at Geographe Bay. It diverts water from the Vasse & Sabina rivers to prevent them overflowing and flooding Busselton.

In November 2000, State Cabinet accepted a proposal from the Busselton Flood Management Steering Committee to ensure the Busselton community be protected from 1 in 100 year rainfall events. This plan included the construction of large compensating basins and reconstructing the banks of the Vasse Diversion Drain.

Since then, we have been working towards this goal, having completed the construction of three compensating basins and reviews of local drainage needs. We have now determined the essential next step is to increase the capacity of the Vasse Diversion Drain while reconstructing the levee banks and building an overflow structure where the drain meets the Vasse River.

Have your say

In December 2019, we set up pop-up project information booths. We spoke to over 100 residents to better understand how people use the drain and any concerns they had about construction or eventual changes to the drain, before finalising our design and construction plan.

We listened to this community feedback and have developed a plan with solutions and strategies. This plan can be found in the Document Library. We also shared this plan at our our pop-up project information booths in February 2020 and continued our discussions with the community to refine it and create more opportunities to work with local groups and experts.

In September 2020, we again invited the community along to our project information booths, and provided an update on our environmental management plans and the outcomes of our environmental approvals.

Over the course of this consultation, we had face to face conversations with over 15 local groups and more than 200 community members to help inform how the project will be delivered.

Please take a look through the information on this page and use the tabs below to fill out our survey or ask us a question using the Q&A tool and we'll be sure to get back to you.

Water Corporation is upgrading the Vasse Diversion Drain to increase flood protection in Busselton.

Floods have continued to affect the Busselton community since the drain was built in the 1920’s, and although we have been making smaller modifications to the Busselton drainage system to mitigate flooding, these options have now run out.

The Vasse Diversion Drain starts just North of the Busselton Golf Course (refer to map under Document Library) and extends for around 6.3 km north to the ocean at Geographe Bay. It diverts water from the Vasse & Sabina rivers to prevent them overflowing and flooding Busselton.

In November 2000, State Cabinet accepted a proposal from the Busselton Flood Management Steering Committee to ensure the Busselton community be protected from 1 in 100 year rainfall events. This plan included the construction of large compensating basins and reconstructing the banks of the Vasse Diversion Drain.

Since then, we have been working towards this goal, having completed the construction of three compensating basins and reviews of local drainage needs. We have now determined the essential next step is to increase the capacity of the Vasse Diversion Drain while reconstructing the levee banks and building an overflow structure where the drain meets the Vasse River.

Have your say

In December 2019, we set up pop-up project information booths. We spoke to over 100 residents to better understand how people use the drain and any concerns they had about construction or eventual changes to the drain, before finalising our design and construction plan.

We listened to this community feedback and have developed a plan with solutions and strategies. This plan can be found in the Document Library. We also shared this plan at our our pop-up project information booths in February 2020 and continued our discussions with the community to refine it and create more opportunities to work with local groups and experts.

In September 2020, we again invited the community along to our project information booths, and provided an update on our environmental management plans and the outcomes of our environmental approvals.

Over the course of this consultation, we had face to face conversations with over 15 local groups and more than 200 community members to help inform how the project will be delivered.

Please take a look through the information on this page and use the tabs below to fill out our survey or ask us a question using the Q&A tool and we'll be sure to get back to you.

  • Pedestrian bridge to reopen

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    Water Corporation is pleased to advise the pedestrian bridge connecting College Avenue and Glenmeer Ramble (opposite St Mary MacKillop College) is on track to be reopened in time for School Term Two.

    The bridge will reopen on Monday 19 April.

    Temporary fencing has been installed alongside the footpath ramps, as we await the arrival of balustrade and handrails. The balustrade and rails are scheduled to arrive and be installed in May, at which time the bridge will need to be closed again for a short period. We will provide a further update at this time.

    We wish all returning students and staff the very best for term two and hope everyone enjoys using the new bridge, which is now 11 meters longer!

  • We’d like to hear from you

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    Drop by to talk with the Vasse Diversion Drain project team!

    We know having this major project so close to your home means you probably have lots of questions for us. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to ask them.

    Members of the team will be available:

    This Saturday 27 March

    10am – 2pm

    Bunnings Busselton (outside the garden centre)

    We hope to see you there.

    If you are unable to make it, use the ‘Ask Us’ tab above to submit your questions.
    Alternatively, you can contact Community Engagement Advisor, Sarah Bennett at Sarah.Bennett@watercorporation.com.au or by calling (08) 9420 2587 (during business hours only).

  • Work progressing well

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    Update on progress

    To date, Water Corporation work to upgrade the Vasse Diversion Drain has been progressing to plan.

    Bank stabilisation with jute matting and brush walling at the ocean end of the drain has been completed. (See photos for before and after comparison.)

    From New River to College Ave the old rock walls on either side of the drain have been demolished in preparation for new, stronger concrete walls to replace them.

    At both ends of the drain, temporary clay walls have been built in the channels to keep water away from construction sites in the interests of safety. Temporary pipe networks have been established to divert flows in the drain.

    Earthworks along the drainage channel from Queen Elizabeth Ave to Chapman Hill Rd (shown in orange and purple on map below) to demolish and reconstruct the banks is also progressing. Large machinery is being used for this work and is regularly moving around the 5.5 km site.

    Impacts to residents

    Residents in the Queen Elizabeth Ave to Busselton Bypass section (shown in orange on the map above) may experience vibrations during this work. Please rest assured anticipated vibration levels were assessed when selecting construction methods. Vibrations on this project are not expected to reach levels that cause damage to nearby buildings.

    To ensure safe driving conditions are maintained throughout this work, the speed limit has been changed to 60 km along Chapman Hill Rd.

    Due to weather conditions heightening the risk of bushfire in the region, our work may need to stop with short notice if fire bans and vehicle movement bans are put in place. This may increase the volume of dust near site, as dust suppression vehicles cannot be used.

    We understand this work can be disruptive, and we thank you for your patience and understanding while we complete this essential work.

    Environmental management

    88 fauna shelters have now been installed in bushland adjacent to the drain to complement the 15 rope bridges that have been installed. These installations will provide possums and other wildlife with safe passage during the project and for years to come.

    The 37,000 relocated Carter’s Freshwater Mussels are being monitored weekly and water levels are being maintained in the Upper Vasse for their protection.

    Recently, around 3,000 fish were relocated from parts of the construction area to areas with adequate water. Further relocation is planned to take place early February.

    A note on COVID-19

    Water Corporation continues to dedicate all necessary resources and management focus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – rest assured it is our absolute operational priority.

    We are monitoring the local health situation daily and adjusting our business operations as needed. Safety is always our number one priority.

    At the time of publishing, the information in this article is correct. However, given the unpredictable nature of a pandemic and associated restrictions that may impact our work, plans may change without notice.

  • Possible work on site this weekend (6-7 February 2021)

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    Due to the wet weather expected in the week starting 7 February emergency work to clear the drainage channel on Saturday 6 and/or Sunday 7 February may be required. The decision to do this work will be made following an assessment of the most current weather modelling the Bureau of Meteorology in the coming days.


  • Construction will be pausing 24 December 2020 - 3 January 2021

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    Water Corporation work to upgrade the Vasse Diversion Drain is progressing to plan.

    Clearing to accommodate the new, wider drain is now complete. This was carried out under constant supervision of our fauna experts who reported no injuries to wildlife throughout the process.

    Bank stabilisation and ground preparation for revegetation is underway near to the ocean end of the drain.

    Earthworks along the drainage channel have commenced.

    Two kinds of fencing have been installed for the project. They are:

    • Temporary fencing for construction for the purpose of safety and
    • Longer-term stock-style fencing to protect environmentally sensitive and revegetation areas nearby to the construction site.

    We understand this fencing has limited some informal access pathways to the drain. In the interests of your own safety and the environment, we ask that you do not enter the fenced areas even if you think it is safe to do so.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding while we undertake this essential work.

    Christmas break period

    A break in construction activity is planned from 24 December to 3 January to minimise disturbance to nearby properties during this period, as well as allowing our crews time to celebrate the holidays.

    Small crews will still be on site during this period to provide security, maintain equipment and refuel machinery.

  • Pedestrian bridge closures

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    The closure of the pedestrian bridge between Glenmeer Rmbl and College Ave has been deferred as much as possible for the convenience of the community, particularly students. Minor changes to our work plan made this possible while still progressing with the upgrade safely and to schedule. The bridge is now set to close from 16 December 2020 until mid-April 2021.

    Similarly, the closure of the pedestrian bridge between Carter St and Queen Elizabeth Ave has been reviewed and will be closed intermittently (for only hours or days at a time), as needed. Signs and fencing will be installed when a closure is in place.

  • Construction work starts week of 9 November 2020

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    Important dates

    Start of work: Week starting 9 November 2020

    Levee banks closed: Week starting 9 November – mid-2021

    Pedestrian bridges over the drain closed: 23 November 2020 – mid-April 2021


    What is happening?

    Water Corporation will begin construction work to upgrade the Vasse Diversion Drain in the week starting 9 November 2020. The work will be undertaken by Vasse Joint Venture (VJV) as an authorised contractor of Water Corporation.

    How long will this take?

    Work will take place Monday to Saturday between 7am – 6pm and will continue until winter 2021.

    If required, work may occur on a Sunday in order to avoid any unforeseen delays to project completion.

    What does the work involve?

    The drain’s channel will be widened so it can hold and move more water during a flood. We will also build an overflow structure where the drain meets the Vasse River in Bovell, so there is better control of the flows between the two waterways.

    In order to complete the work in time for winter, four construction crews will be working along the drain in sections as shown on the map below. All sections will be under construction for the duration of the project.

    The early stages of work will involve the construction of two clay walls at either end of the drain, to stop the flow of water into the construction area. Water currently in the drain will then be pumped out so the drain can be worked on and used as a transport route for construction machinery.

    Majority of the construction work on this project will be earthworks, but will also involve concrete work in some areas and the extension of the pedestrian bridge between College Ave and Glenmeer Rmbl.

    Why are the bridges closing?

    The pedestrian bridges between College Ave and Glenmeer Rmbl and between Moore St and Queen Elizabeth Ave will be closed from 23 November 2020 (end of year 12 exams) to mid-April 2021 (in time for school term 2).

    The bridge between College Ave and Glenmeer Rmbl needs to be closed and extended so it spans the width of the new, wider drain.

    The bridge between Moore St and Queen Elizabeth Ave will be closed so work can be carried out safely beneath it.

    What are the impacts of construction?

    As with most work, you may experience increased levels of noise, dust, and vehicle movements while this work takes place.

    As the site is near to school commute routes, we will endeavour to minimise vehicle and machinery movements during school commute times. The levee bank and some sections of shared path will be closed while light vehicles and machinery are moved into the area. Please observe any detours of these pathways.

    Traffic management will also be in place at times throughout the project. We will endeavour to give you as much notice as possible if you live nearby to the detours.

    An update on the environment

    Over the last fortnight 15 possum bridges and around 35 fauna shelters have been installed in trees surrounding the drain. These structures will help possums and other wildlife move safely away from the work area, should they wish to.

    In addition, over 35,000 of the protected Carter’s Freshwater Mussel were relocated last week from the drain into the Vasse River where they will be safe from construction impacts.

    Essential clearing will continue over the next fortnight and environmental experts will be present to keep an eye on wildlife movement. If you see a lost or distressed animal that you believe is related to this work, please contact the local FAWNA wildcare helpline on 0438 526 660.

    Where can I go for more information.

    Visit the document library (on the right hand side of the project home page) for over 40 project documents such as plans, maps, FAQs and environmental surveys.

  • Preliminary work commencing 26 October 2020

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    Preliminary work on the upgrade project is due to commence 26 October, 2020.

    Due to the community amenity and environmental significance of the area, several activities need to occur prior to the upgrade work commencing to reduce the impact of construction.

    This preliminary work involves:

    • Installation of fencing around vegetation areas to be protected,
    • Installation of fauna shelters and possum bridges,
    • Geotechnical investigations on the College Avenue pedestrian bridge,
    • Extension of the pedestrian pathway on the west side of the drain (running behind properties on Carter St) to Moore St
    • Environmental surveys and sampling,
    • Establishment of site facilities and
    • Clearing of vegetation.

    This work will be undertaken by various authorised contractors on behalf of Water Corporation including Vasse Joint Venture (VJV); a joint venture between Westforce and JWI Contractors, Tranen Environmental and Bamford Consulting Ecologists.

    Where is this happening?

    Majority of this preliminary work will take place between Bussell Hwy and Busselton Bypass. Please refer to the maps enclosed.

    The possum bridges and fauna shelters will be installed in bushland along the length of the drain in locations selected by fauna specialists.

    Surveys will be undertaken as required along the length of the drain.

    How long will this take?

    Work will take place Monday to Saturday between 7am – 6pm from 26 October and will continue for up to 2 weeks. If required, work may occur on a Sunday in order to avoid any unforeseen delays to project completion.

    What are the impacts?

    As with most work, you may experience increased levels of noise and dust while this work takes place.

    As the site is near to school commute routes, we will endeavour to minimise vehicle and machinery movements during school commute times. Some parts of the levee bank will be closed while light vehicles and machinery are moved into the area.

    The area that will be cleared runs alongside bush land that will remain in place. It is therefore unlikely that wildlife will leave the area during this work; however we will be installing signage encouraging the slow movement of traffic in nearby streets as a precaution.

    Environmental experts will be present while clearing takes place and will keep an eye on wildlife movement. If you see a lost or distressed animal that you believe is related to this work, please contact Community Engagement Advisor, Sarah Bennett on (08) 9420 2587 or sarah.bennett@watercorporation.com.au

  • Sharing our plans: Final design and re-vegetation plan

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    The project team at Water Corporation have this week published two key documents for the project in the Document Library so now is your chance to take a look.

    These documents are:

    • A draft re-vegetation plan (pending approval from our environmental regulators)
      • To offset environmental impacts the project may have on the local environment and to improve amenity and aesthetics of the area, Water Corporation is planning to re-vegetate over 10 ha of land in the immediate vicinity of the drain. This document outlines how we plan to do this with over 15 zones hosting unique mixes of plants to improve the diversity of the ecosystem. The plan is awaiting final approvals from environmental regulators.
    • Final designs of the new drain
      • A design for the new drain including key features like gauging stations and the overflow structure is now available for download. If you live adjacent to the drain, you will receive more information about this via post.

    We invite you to drop-by one of our pop-up project information booths to learn more and talk with us about these documents and the project in general. This will be the last opportunity to have an informal chat to our team before work gets underway!

    Sessions will be held:

    Saturday 12 September

    8am – 12pm

    Busselton Community Garden Market

    48/50 Strelly Street, Busselton

    Sunday 13 September

    7am – 12pm

    Busselton Rotary Market

    Signal Park, Busselton





    We hope to see you there!

  • DWER Clearing Permit Advertised

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    After the Water Corporation submitted the final environmental approvals documentation in March 2020, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) completed their Assessment of the Vasse Diversion Drain Upgrade Project and advertised CPS8191/1 Permit online. The clearing footprint for the project is 2.16 ha which includes 0.55 ha of temporary clearing. The permit, decision report and associated plans are now available in the Document Library under the "Environmental Approvals" folder.

    The project will be delivering a 10.34 ha environmental offset, located in the immediate vicinity of the drain. The offset will improve the local amenity whilst delivering improved ecological outcomes for the rare flora, fauna and priority ecological community located in and around the drain. A Revegetation Plan is being developed, in consultation with the City of Busselton, DWER, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and subject matter experts including Tranen (local Revegetation Consultants), Prof Kingsley Dixon (Restoration Ecology and Floristic Specialist) and Mike Bamford (Fauna Specialist).

    The project is now being assessed at the Federal level by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, with a decision expected in August 2020.

    The DWER Permit has been advertised for on the DWER Clearing Permits website https://www.der.wa.gov.au/our-work/clearing-permits/clearing-permits-available-for-public-appeal.