The State Government has unveiled the Waterwise Perth Action Plan as part of National Water Week which will aim to make Perth a leading waterwise city by 2030.
WA’s Minister for Water Dave Kelly says the two-year plan will aim to deal with water management issues on a holistic basis with households, local government and developers all coming together.
The plan outlines ways to improve how Perth will manage its water and urban environments including providing assistance to households to reduce individual water use down to 110kL and providing $100 rebates to cover the cost of calling out a plumber to detect potential water leaks.
The plan will also:
- Improve the water management of sporting ovals and green spaces
- Implement 100 per cent water wise urban development projects in Perth and Peel region.
- Increase the use of recycled water in Perth
- Increase urban tree canopies to reduce urban heat; and
- Design METRONET precincts to consider all elements of the water cycle
Minister Kelly says the plan is a response to the effects of climate change which have delivered drier winters and warmer summer periods alongside an anticipated population growth of 3.5 million in Perth by 2050.
“We used to get 420 billion litres of water running into these dams each year but, with a significant decline in rainfall since the mid 1970’s from climate change, we can now expect just 25 billion litres,” said Minister Kelly.
One of the government’s plans to reduce water usage is for households to reduce their annual water use down from 126kL per year down to 110kL.
In a day, this is a reduction from 340 litres of water per individual down to 300 litres.
Environmental scientist Josh Burns says these water savings are easily achievable.
“The biggest savings of course can be made in the garden which is the largest area water is used in a typical Perth home,” he said.
“The biggest inside water demand is showers and this is why the shower swap scheme to a new generation of highly efficient shower heads makes so much sense.”
Mr Burns said reducing water isn’t enough however, we need to rethink how our cities and homes are designed and managed.
“The reality is we have a dry climate and with a reduction in rainfall level meaning the dams really play no serious role in maintaining Perth’s water supply,” he said.
“We are also seeing a decline in groundwater level so we need to get much smarter with how we manage our water.”
He says the plan, which has considered the opinion of over 200 relevant stakeholders, is the platform we need to coordinate government, industry and community collaboration.
Chief Executive of Urban Development Institute of Australia Tanya Steinbeck says the development industry has been working closely with the Department of Water and Water Corporation to ensure Perth developments are waterwise.
“A challenge we are always facing is ensuring that we offer enough green spaces and recreational opportunities which are in demand from our communities,” says Ms Steinbeck.
“Collaboration between the development industry and local government is important so we can conserve water and still deliver the recreational spaces that our purchasers are looking for.”
At the core of the issue, Mr Burns says we can’t lose sight of waterwise behaviours we can all implement daily.
“It’s simple things like having a shorter shower and making sure our washing machines are full before a load goes on or spotting water leaks,” he says.
“They are free kicks, that’s free savings and of course the cheapest way to manage our water.”
Check how water-wise your suburb is below: