Through the Waterwise Council Program, local governments have achieved amazing results and contributed to saving billions of litres of precious water. Waterwise Councils manage and care for large areas of public open space across Perth, which are central to the wellbeing of residents and the wider community. These spaces are often home to native wildlife and play an important role in sustaining the environment in increasingly urbanised communities.

The City of Canning was awarded Waterwise Platinum Council of the Year in 2019, and its advice to residents is not to feel overwhelmed about being waterwise – start small, then work your way up and not be disheartened because you think that small changes can’t make a difference. After all, when we work collectively, and there are thousands of us doing our bit, we can make a big impact. The City believes working together is key – through cross-departmental collaboration and knowledge sharing it has achieved effective outcomes. It encourages residents to speak to their friends and neighbours about what they are doing and how things have worked in terms of practicality and cost.

While working towards big water-saving goals, local governments have adopted a variety of innovative and practical initiatives that have extended benefits for staff, community, wildlife and public open spaces. We can all take some learning from these initiatives, so put your waterwise thinking cap on and find some great ideas and resources provided by our Waterwise Councils to help you save time, money and improve the local environment.

Waterwise Perth 

Native waterwise gardens

Many of our Waterwise Councils run programs to assist residents with the process of converting lawn, garden beds and verges into waterwise spaces with native plants that provide food and somewhere to live for local fauna, such as birds and insects (including our precious bees). Garden beds with local native plants require much less maintenance and water than lawn, and can save money and time.

Local government staff have a wealth of knowledge, support residents with educational workshops and can provide plants or rebates to get you started. Contact your local Waterwise Council to find out how you can transform your outdoor spaces into waterwise areas.

Visit our Waterwise plants for Western Australia database to find the plants best suited for your location in WA.


Hydrozoning is another way to save water and time. By planting Western Australian native plants together with similar water and maintenance requirements, you can customise irrigation layouts and schedules for each area’s needs, improving efficiency and avoiding overwatering and underwatering.

Garden plants can be split into three groups according to their watering needs, look out for the Waterwise rating as a guide:

  • One drop plants have a low water requirement. They will only need occasional watering over summer, once a week to not at all.
  • Two drop plants have a moderate water requirement every three to seven days during summer.
  • Three drop plants have a high water requirement every one to two days during summer.


Mulching can make a huge difference to your garden by reducing evaporation, which is enormously beneficial for plants. When using mulch, it is best to use the waterwise variety look out for chunky mulch with the Smart Approved WaterMark label. Avoid 'soft' mulches as they are composed of fine materials that can pack down to make an absorbent, impenetrable layer that prevents water movement through to the soil.

Water recycling

Reusing water which would otherwise be wasted can provide multiple benefits. Some Waterwise Councils recycle water to irrigate ovals and public open space.

In your home, you can consider a greywater system, which captures water from the bath, shower or washing machine to be used to irrigate your garden. This helps you save water and provides your plants with the amount of water they need. For more information about greywater reuse systems, check out our Greywater Guide, or contact your local government.

Garden bores

With over an estimated 40% of water used on our gardens in Perth, bores offer a real opportunity for you to save scheme water. Most garden bores draw from our precious shallow groundwater resources. This water is shared by our natural environment, public open space, businesses and residents.

To help share available groundwater, it’s important to water your lawns and gardens efficiently, including keeping to your watering days and ensuring that you have the right sprinklers for your garden.  Although you get an extra watering day per week with a bore (3 days in total), sprinkler rosters and times still apply, remember to only water once per station before 9am or after 6pm on your allocated watering days.

Groundwater obstruction from residential bores is an important resource for our community – in our drying climate, we mustn’t overuse this water source and continue to be waterwise and conservative towards all water resources.

To find out more about setting up your sprinkler system and irrigation, visit our sprinklers and irrigation page.

Waterwise fixtures and fittings

Installing waterwise devices or fixtures in your home can help you to save water and money. You’ve likely seen these fixtures at local government-owned buildings (like aquatic centres) which have water-efficient showerheads, automatic shut-off nozzles and waterwise tapware.  Thanks to some ingenious engineering, many budget-friendly waterwise taps can halve your water use with little to no impact on your water pressure, and the best thing is once installed the savings are automatic. Call a waterwise plumber in your area to help you today.

As climate change continues to impact WA, it is essential we all work together to reduce water use now and into the future. Check out our Waterwise pages or speak to your local government to help you get started on your waterwise journey and continue to make improvements. You can also read more about the innovative and creative ways that our Waterwise Councils are saving water.