Phosphorus cut to aid rivers
Phosphorus cut to aid rivers

New limits on the amount of phosphorus in home garden fertilisers are a “positive move’’ for South West waterways, according to South West Catchments Council chief executive Damien Postma.

From January 1, the amount of phosphorus in garden fertilisers will be cut from 2.5 per cent to 2 per cent, in an attempt to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the region’s rivers.

Mr Postma said the changes meant people could still use fertilisers on their gardens but waterways would see a reduction in phosphorus.

“The contribution from urban areas into waterways of phosphorus is quite significant, but it can be hard for people to know what’s a good and what’s a bad fertiliser,’’ he said.

“This ensures people that whatever they buy is river friendly.’’

Excess phosphorus can cause algal blooms in waterways and lead to the death of fish and marine life.

Mr Postma said the upcoming months were a risky time for algal blooms in South West waterways.

“It is likely we will have algal NEW limits on the amount of phosphorus in home garden fertilisers are a “positive move’’ for South West waterways, according to South West Catchments Council chief executive Damien Postma.

From January 1, the amount of phosphorus in garden fertilisers will be cut from 2.5 per cent to 2 per cent, in an attempt to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the region’s rivers.

Mr Postma said the changes meant people could still use fertilisers on their gardens but waterblooms,’’ he said.

He said the Peel-Harvey Estuary needed a 50 per cent reduction in the amount of phosphorus and the Leschenault Inlet needed a 30 40 per cent cut.

The changes are part of the State Government’s $3m Fertiliser Partnership program, which would invite the fertiliser industry, agricultural, horticultural and community groups to work to cut nutrient run off and improve river health.

“The Fertiliser Partnership will deliver an integrated approach and strengthen the development of best practice nutrient management,’’ Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman said.

Mr Postma said while the SWCC was working closely with the agriculture sector on their phosphorus contributions, the proximity of urban areas to waterways caused significant problems.

“There’s less opportunity for the environment to take care of the phosphorus on the way,’’ he said.

“When there’s more distance, there’s more chance of it being taken up by other plants for being used appropriately in the system.’’

The amount of phosphorus in all-purpose and lawn fertiliser is already limited to one per cent.

Damien Postma hopes phosphorus level cuts will prevent future algal bloom outbreaks.

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