Teacher background information
Water use in a drying climate
Perth and the South West region of WA continue to experience the effects of a drying climate. We no longer rely solely on the rain and inflow to our dams to fulfill our water needs. Becoming more climate resilient involves a balance of reducing water use, increasing the amount of water we recycle and developing new sources.
Households use most water (approximately 68%) from the Integrated Water Supply Scheme and therefore have the greatest potential to save scheme water.
Water efficiency programs
WA’s drive for greater water efficiency has produced a suite of programs to engage all community sectors to do what they can to save water. The introduction in 2001 of two days per week roster of sprinkler use for gardens in Perth was extended statewide in 2007. The winter sprinkler ban, recycling initiatives, rebate programs, leak management, showerhead retrofits and waterwise programs have saved approximately 34 billion litres of water a year. The Regional Integrated Water Efficiency Program, which ran from 2010 to 2013, involved more than 25,000 households and 800 non-residential customers in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Great Southern and Goldfields. It included retrofits of water efficient appliances and fittings, installation of smart meters, leak detection and repair, and community based social marketing. It is estimated the program saved almost 4.5 billion litres of water in its first year.
WELS is Australia's water efficiency labelling scheme. It allows consumers to compare the water efficiency of different products by requiring that certain products have water rating labels at the point of sale or display/advertising. The products that are currently come under the scheme are: washing machines, dishwashers, showers, urinals, toilets, taps and flow controllers (optional). To compare the water efficiency ratings of different WELS products you can search the WELS product database.
Some current interesting water inventions include:
A selection of the most significant innovations developed by Australians in the century since Federation can be seen at the Powerhouse Museum website.