Responding to climate change

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.

Drinking water carting has started, or is scheduled to start, to the following towns:

Scheme Start date Properties served
Denmark TBC 2,445
Salmon Gums August 2019 39
Ravensthorpe August 2018 302 

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 year is also tracking to be one of the driest years on record. 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. This year the dam is tracking to receive the lowest streamflow on record, with only around 300 million litres of water received so far.

We will build infrastructure to expand the Great Southern temporary water carting program to Denmark and supplement the local water supply. This will involve carting water from the Lower Great Southern Towns Water Supply Scheme (LGSTWSS), from supply points in Mount Barker, Narrikup and Albany.

While preparations to install carting infrastructure are currently underway, the decision when to begin carting will depend on the amount of rain received in Denmark over the coming weeks. Once a date is confirmed, we will advise the community prior to commencing carting.

When water carting starts there will be additional truck movements along:

  • Muir Highway in Mount Barker
  • Spencer Road in Narrikup
  • Denmark-Mount Barker Road from Mount Barker to Denmark
  • Settlers Road in Denmark 

Please take extra care on these roads during this time. 

Thank you for your support while we manage these essential changes to your water supply, including infrastructure upgrades and water saving initiatives. As part of our longer-term plans to secure water supply in the Great Southern, we are also investigating the optimal route for a pipeline linking Denmark to the Lower Great Southern Water Supply Scheme so we will keep you informed as this progresses.

Find out more about how we’re securing Denmark's water supply.

Other schemes we are monitoring

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

Scheme Properties served kL/day 
Cranbrook 180 75 - 205
Frankland 70 20 - 70
Munglinup 42 15 - 30

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. 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

Shire standpipes are suitable for high capacity and low volume stock water. Please refer to the map below for standpipe location.

Please note, high volume use (eg; spray water ) must be taken from standpipes located on red pipelines (as indicated on the map).

Using fixed standpipes

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.

Other resources

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation - Rural water support

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development - 2019 drought seasonal and management information