Home to over 1,500 animals from here and around the world, Perth Zoo has unique and complex water needs. In the past few years alone, the Zoo has managed to reduce their water consumption by over 20%, making them a deserving winner of our Platinum Waterwise Business of the Year. They were able to achieve this incredible feat through a combination of infrastructure upgrades, improved staff collaboration and innovative exhibit designs.

Infrastructure works taking place at Perth Zoo
Infrastructure works taking place at Perth Zoo.

Perth Zoo is a much loved conservation tourist attraction, operating 365 days a year. In 2015, the Zoo launched an $11.9 million Integrated Water Management Project to address the increasing number of leaks and bursts that were occurring in their ageing infrastructure. The Zoo also replaced all toilet cisterns, shower heads and taps throughout their grounds with minimum 3-star WELS rated fixtures. With over 700,000 visitors annually, this presented a huge water saving opportunity.

Reducing water use is one of Perth Zoo’s commitment in their sustainability strategy. To support their vision, a dedicated ‘green team’ was established to spread the waterwise message to staff and visitors. Outside the walls of the Zoo, education around the importance of saving water has also seeped into school programs and annual fundraising calendars. Due to staff empowerment and their vigilance in reporting leaks and flow monitoring, over 25% of water was saved across their grounds.

Waterwise green spaces for all residents

To meet the needs of their animals and create idyllic green open spaces for visitors, Perth Zoo requires a large amount of irrigation. The Zoo uses state-of-the-art, smart irrigation controllers across all 41 acres of the site. The controllers have the ability to adjust the amount of watering required based on local rainfall levels meaning the Zoo’s sprinklers are capable of automatically switching off on rainy days.

Perth Zoo Mainlake Pelican habitatPerth Zoo Mainlake habitat – the Zoo is committed to ensuring that all its residents are provided with the right environment while maintaining waterwise practices.

The Zoo continues its commitment to increasing water savings. They are now looking into how they can make use of clever landscaping and hydrozoning. Hydrozoning involves grouping plants with similar watering needs together to prevent overwatering.

One of Perth Zoo’s most innovative water saving initiatives is the recent redesign of the water disposal system at their Western Swamp Tortoise breeding facility. The Zoo’s breeding program is home to nearly 50 tortoise ponds which can use up to 50,000 litres of water per day during winter to maintain the tortoise’s preferred environmental conditions. During the design process, the team were conscious of the different ways they could reuse the flowing water. The enclosure now allows much of the water used to either be recycled to other areas of the zoo or recharged back into groundwater. The new design has been successful at both meeting the tortoise’s needs and preventing unnecessary water loss.

Western Swamp Tortoise pond at the Perth Zoo.
Western Swamp Tortoise pond at the Perth Zoo.