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Our public drinking water supply schemes have been affected by the same climatic conditions as those impacting farming and other businesses in the Great Southern area.

As a result, we are undertaking measures to secure water supply to those areas by:

Water carting

Carting occurs across the State when needed for small towns where the local water scheme relies heavily on rainfall.

When water sources reach a low level, water carting is considered the most cost-effective solution, as often there are only a small number of properties, and the cost to connect to a larger scheme far exceeds the cost of temporary carting.

Once the town’s own water supply begins to recover, carting will stop and the town is again supplied through its own local scheme.

We are carting drinking water to the following towns due to low storage levels in local dams:

Drinking water carting due to low storage levels
Scheme Start date Properties served
Salmon Gums August 2019 39

In addition, we cart regularly to some towns for water quality reasons, which in some cases, are directly related to low storage levels in local dams. We're currently carting water, or are due to start, to the following towns:

List of towns we are carting water to for water quality reasons.  
Scheme Start date Properties served
Porongurups December 2020 19
Wellstead February 2020 17

For some towns water carting is undertaken as a long-term plan. These 'business as usual' towns include:

Scheme Properties served
Rocky Gully 42
Lake King 36
Grass Patch 25
Varley 28
Munglinup 42 

Other schemes we are monitoring

In the absence of rainfall the following schemes are being assessed fortnightly:

List of other schemes we are monitoring
Scheme Properties served
Denmark 2,445
Borden 45
Ravensthorpe 301
Jerramungup 184
 Walpole 380
 Cranbrook 194

Denmark water carting

The water supply scheme in Denmark is not connected to a wider water supply network of pipelines like many other towns in the region. This means the town is currently reliant on rainfall into its dam for drinking water.

Denmark has recorded 3 of the driest years on record since 2014. This has resulted in significantly less water running into Quickup Dam – Denmark’s primary water source.

The long-term average streamflow into Quickup dam is about 2,000 million of litres per year.

We are constantly monitoring the water situation to ensure the best outcome for the community and deliver water in the most cost-efficient way. We have built infrastructure to expand the Great Southern temporary water carting program to Denmark to supplement the local water supply if needed.

Quickup Dam’s current storage volume (as of 21 May 2021) is 728,860kL, compared to 508,603kL for this time last year (20 May 2020). We don’t anticipate the need to cart drinking water into the future, however if the decision is made to begin carting water, we will advise the Denmark community well in advance.

Thank you for your support while we manage these essential changes to your water supply, including infrastructure upgrades and water-saving initiatives. We have determined the best route for a pipeline to connect Denmark to the LGSTWSS.

Towns under a Water Deficiency Declaration

As part of our response to assist towns under a Water Deficiency Declaration, on behalf of the State Government and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation carting of stock water for animal welfare is underway to:

Towns under a water deficiency declaration
Location Declared Date  Suspended  Recommenced Suspended  Carted from
Shire of Ravensthorpe, Mount Short
8 May 2019 30 Jun 2020     Newdegate
Shire of Lake Grace, Mallee Hill 15 May 2019 30 Jun 2020     Lake Grace
Shire of Kent, Hollands Rock 5 Jun 2019 14 Jun 2020

Newdegate/Lake Grace
Shire of Lake Grace, Ardler Road 5 Dec 2019 24 Jun 2020

Newdegate/Lake Grace/South Kulin (GSTWS)
Shire of Jerramungup, Jerramungup 18 Dec 2019 2 Jul 2020     Mt Barker/Tambellup
Shire of Esperance, Grass Patch
18 Dec 2019 17 Jul 2020 22 Jan 2021 10 May 2021 Norseman
Shire of Jerramungup/Shire of Ravensthorpe, Jacup/Fitzgerald 13 Feb 2020 2 Jul 2020

Mount Barker / Katanning / Tambellup
Shire of Dumbleyung, Kukerin 21 Feb 2020 21 Jul 2020     Tambellup
Shire of Kent, Hamilton 21 Feb 2020 2 Jul 2020

Tambellup/Mt Barker
Shire of Esperance, Salmon Gums 6 Mar 2020 5 Nov 2020 20 Dec 2020 10 May 2021 Norseman
Shire of Esperance, Cascades 16 Jun 2020 17 Jul 2020     Norseman

Fixed standpipes

Farming businesses that require stock water as a replacement for depleted on-farm supplies are encouraged to seek water from local strategic community water resources in the first instance. Local Government Authority (LGA) Shire offices are best placed to provide advice on these supplies. Some supplies might require swipe cards to be issued by the Shire to enable access.

Where on-farm and strategic community water resources are not available, stock water can be obtained from regional Shire fixed standpipes.

Water for spraying and other purposes can also be made available through Shire standpipes. Due to the high volumes required, and the potential impact on other users connected to our schemes, access must only be via high capacity standpipes.

Water is made available through Shire standpipes/tanks connected to our schemes for short-term emergency use, and it is important to be aware that standpipes should not be relied on a sole source of water as they can be subject to interruption. If water is needed for domestic purposes, it is important to have alternative arrangements in place.

We may have to temporarily restrict standpipes to preserve the safety and integrity of public drinking water supply schemes. In this instance, Shires will be provided with as much notice as possible so they can advise their standpipe users.

Shire standpipes (high capacity & low volume stock water)

High volume use (eg; spray water) must be taken from standpipes located on Red Pipes.

Find out more about using a fixed standpipe in regional Western Australia

What else are we doing to respond?

With the help of local Shires, we are installing buffer tanks at key local government standpipes to assist in smoothing peak demand and protecting scheme integrity.

We have also started planning how we will be able to assist DWER with provision of emergency stock water if required.

In addition, we are continuing to work with DWER to identify other possible under-utilised sources such as disused town dams. While these are outside of the immediate area, they may still be able to be directly accessed by farming businesses for stock water or carted from to reinforce existing strategic community supplies, or used for carting to emergency stock water points.

For more information, read DWER's rural water support and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Developments 2019 drought season management information.