16 Aug 2012

Can the Swan River survive climate change?

IT'S been called Perth's greatest natural asset, but the stunning Swan River that winds through Western Australia's capital is under increasing pressure from deadly algal blooms caused by the state's drying climate.

Massive fish kills due to the blooms, which starve the water of oxygen, have become an almost annual event in the river, with the worst recorded case in 2003 when more than 200,000 fish died.

This year, unprecedented algal blooms have been killing fish in the middle of winter - a result of the southwest's well-document drying climate, with recorded rainfall declining over at least 30 years.

Without reliable winter rains to flush out saline water and nutrients, algal blooms will continue to take their toll on the river's ecosystems, experts say.
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