A Pilbara tour guide pushing to gain legal access for his guests to enjoy popular waterholes says he has been frustrated by State Government red tape which has dragged the process out for years. Ngurrangga Tours owner Clinton Walker, a Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi man, runs several tours in the Harding catchment area and Millstream-Chichester National Park. Horseshoe, Goanna Leg and Red Dog gorges have for decades been used by residents after good wet-season rains, despite being illegal, but the issue caused a flashpoint this month when the Water Corporation threatened to fine people for swimming in them. While accepting the rules on public use, Mr Walker said the State Government had for years been dragging its feet on granting special permission for his guests to access the waterholes. “I understand the public isn’t supposed to be swimming in these locations, but if it is a small group of people I take out I don’t see that being an issue because my people have been using these waters for generations,” he said. “I have to have a licence and accreditation to go to (national) parks — something similar within the Water Corp boundary — obviously have conditions on it and I would be happy to follow all of those conditions — would be good.” Water Corp North West regional manager Sharon Broad said uncontrolled activities such as swimming compromised drinking water quality. “This is because humans and domesticated animals can carry harmful pathogens, which may contaminate our drinking water,” she said. “The treatment process at Harding Dam is designed to remove organic materials and manage algae risks, it is not designed to remove levels of microbiological contamination that come from water-based recreation. “Recreational activities can result in the transfer of pathogens from humans into the water body. The smallest amount of human waste can contain millions of pathogens that can contaminate a drinking water source.” Water Corporation did not say whether there had been evidence of drinking water contamination caused by people swimming at waterholes in the Harding Dam catchment area. The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, which is responsible for reviewing activities said it did not permit water contact in drinking catchment areas.