No one disputes it. With business as usual, Western Australia, including Perth, faces a bleak outlook for water supply over coming decades, with or without population growth. More than half of Perth’s drinking water comes from the Gnangara and Jandakot mounds, but these underground aquifers are being depleted at a faster rate than they can recharge through rainfall and water levels have reached an historic low.





Our other main water source, seawater desalination, is highly expensive and energy-intensive – ultimately contributing, even with renewable energy offsets, to a key driver of our water crisis, climate change.


Perth’s dams, built last century to capture rainfall and thus supply the city’s water, are no longer reliable. By 2029, they will be as good as useless. By then, south-western Australia will be up to 14% drier than now — on top of the 15% decline in rainfall we have already experienced since 1975. The water flow in our rivers and streams, already 30% lower than in the 70s, will fall another 20–30% due to the drying climate, higher temperatures and hence increased evaporation.


To meet the looming water crisis, improvements have been made in water efficiency, conservation, re- use and recycling, but much more can and must be done. This includes practical and regulatory measures to increase water efficiency, on an individual, community and industrial scale.


Equally necessary is a major overhaul of how we manage and monitor our water resources, especially our groundwater, with which Western Australia is uniquely blessed. The Greens have exposed how the Government’s lead agency, the Department of Water, is mismanaging the State’s water resources, at times failing to comply with its own policies as well as missing national targets for water management. We need better management, greater compliance and more transparency. It’s time our most important public resource was treated as such.


Our action plan, Being Smart With Water, outlines how we can meet our water needs to 2029 and beyond without building more expensive, energy-guzzling desalination plants.

Authorised by Jess McColl & Trish Cowcher, the Greens (WA), Ground Floor 445 Hay St Perth