Let’s go back 100 years…

Western Australia looked pretty different in the 1920s. Our dams were brimming with rainwater, which we treated and delivered to homes and businesses around Perth.

The water from our dams kept lawns green, cars washed and clothes bright and clean. But this water wouldn’t last forever.

In the 1960s, dams still supplied 88% of Perth’s water. The remaining 12% came from groundwater supplies.

The State Government took action to conserve water in the late 1970s with the introduction of water restrictions.

By the 1980s, warmer temperatures and less rainfall meant another shift in our water sources. Water from our dams scaled back to 65% of our supply, as we relied more on groundwater.

As WA continued to see less streamflow into dams due to climate change, we had to reduce our reliance on dam water. In 2005, we built Australia’s first desalination plant. We needed a secure rainfall independent water source for Perth. 

Our climate has experienced significant change in the last 100 years, so we’ve had to change too.


Today, we still get some drinking water from streamflow into our dams, but we can no longer rely on the same amount of rainfall we used to receive. That's why we have to depend on other sources of water to supply Perth.

Around 35% of Perth's water is desalinated seawater, around 36% is groundwater, just 26% is from dams and 3% is from groundwater replenishment. These days, we’re treating some of our recycled wastewater to top up our underground aquifers. You can see just how much our water sources have changed in Perth using our water supply tool.

To ensure the future of water in WA, we have an adaptive approach to water cycle planning. In simple terms, this means we’re keeping our options open. We have planned ahead with several viable water source options that are rainfall independent.

While we’re working hard to make sure WA’s valuable water is sustainably managed, every drop counts. We still need homeowners and businesses to do their bit to save our precious water. To join the community effort, help your household commit to some simple water saving tips.