World Rivers Day!

World Rivers Day is a global celebration of our waterways that occurs on the fourth Sunday of September every year. This year it was on 29 September 2020 (we missed it by a day!).

However, it is still worth taking a moment to reflect on the many values our rivers provide us, and our responsibility for stewardship of these incredible systems that are a key part of the earth’s water cycle. Rivers provide us with freshwater for drinking, growing crops, manufacturing, energy, and transport, as well as supporting diverse ecosystems and wildlife. Rivers are often central to the social values of ancient cultures as well as modern day society with many towns and cities located around them. In short it is worth us taking a day to celebrate and appreciate what they provide us.

Boorloo (Perth)’s Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) painted by Aboriginal students from Christ Church Grammar school, Perth (Source: Christ Church Grammar School, 13 August 2020). The Derbarl Yerrigan has remained at the heart of Noongar culture and heritage for more than 40,000 years and was mythologically created by the Waugals (giant serpents), who carved waterways and valleys as they made their way to the mouth of the river at Fremantle.

To celebrate World Rivers Day, our friends at Australia’s River Basin Management Society (RBMS) held a one-day virtual River Fest to celebrate the ‘Waterways in Our Communities’ on Tuesday 29 September. Joined by keynote speakers Prof Ian Rutherfurd and Dr Siwan Lovett (Director of the Australian River Restoration Centre) were a host of speakers covering a variety of fascinating topics over the course of the day – including dryland river management, riverine ecology, connectivity and cultural water, extreme events, and communities and their special waterways.

So do you have a favourite river or water spot? What condition is it in and who looks after it?

There are many ways to help look after our rivers from something as simple as picking up rubbish from your local stretch of river, to minimising use of fertilisers in your garden that may run into your local waterways, reporting any damage/pollution/injured widlife, helping with river and foreshore management projects (such as the WA Government’s River Guardians program for the Swan and Canning River), joining your local “Friends of” group, or just going down to the foreshore to appreciate its beauty and all that it provides!