What is the one thing that connects us all? Our water.

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Perth’s groundwater

Ever wondered what goes on just below your feet? Groundwater is an important part of the water cycle and our natural environment. It comes from rain that trickles down through the soil into aquifers. Aquifers aren’t the underground lakes or rivers you might imagine – but rather rock material with enough connected space to store and move water through it.

Perth’s precious groundwater is also under pressure due to climate change and increasing demand. We all need to work together to be groundwater wise and account for lower levels of rainfall so that we can continue to have groundwater for our community, for industry and the environment in the face of climate change.

Groundwater is shared by us all

Groundwater is a shared resource, and is mostly used by local governments, schools, industry, businesses, farmers and households who take water from bores. Some is used for Perth’s drinking water delivered through the Integrated Water Supply Scheme.

We supply water to over 2 million people in the greater Perth area, and almost half of our drinking water supply comes from groundwater.

In Western Australia, The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation manages groundwater abstraction and sets Water Corporation’s allocation for scheme water supplies.

Find out how to be groundwater wise

Keeping Perth green

Without groundwater Perth wouldn’t have the lakes, wetlands, green parks, bush and trees that make Perth such a beautiful city to live in. Perth’s groundwater plays an important role in the environment, helping to keep our parks and ovals healthy and our ‘living things’ like lakes, wetlands and bushland, alive and well.

Some of the bushland and large trees in our communities tap into groundwater to survive our hot, dry summers and our natural lakes and iconic wetlands depend on groundwater to survive.

That’s why we all have a role to play in using water wisely, whether it’s drinking water or bore water.

Water for Future

Our water sources

When you think of where our water comes from, do you think of dams?

If you do, you might be surprised to learn around half of Perth’s drinking water now comes from the sea via desalination, and the balance is from dams, groundwater and recycled water. We still use dams, just not in the way you think.

Climate change is real, so we don’t rely on rain for our drinking water anymore. The water in our dams is no longer just made up of inflows from rain either. Water from other sources, particularly desalinated sea water, is stored in dams during periods of low demand, so it’s there for when we need it most.

Want to know more? Read up on desalination, recycled water, groundwater and the changing roles of our dams.

Our water cycle

The water cycle is a natural, continuous process that supports all life on Earth, and moves water throughout the Earth and its atmosphere. Perth’s water cycle is unique for our climate because we can’t rely on rain for our drinking water anymore.

Perth’s drinking water is a combination of water sourced from the sea and from groundwater. Seawater is piped into a desalination plant to have the salt removed, and groundwater is treated at one of our 82 water treatment plants. It then runs through a complex network of pipes to your home.

Once you’ve used this water it becomes wastewater, which is transferred from your home to one of our 100 wastewater treatment plants for initial treatment. Some water is then returned to the environment, and some is treated further so it’s good enough to drink before being recharged into our groundwater system. The process then starts all over again!

Our network

Ever stopped to think about how water gets to you?

The network of pipes delivering water to Perth, the Goldfields and Agricultural region and some parts of the South West is called The Integrated Water Supply Scheme (IWSS), and it’s the largest supply scheme we manage. It’s big…really big!

This network supplies over 363 billion litres of drinking water to more than 2 million people through 34,678 km of water pipes!

And it doesn’t end there because we then take away all of your used water too.

Wastewater mostly comes from sinks, showers and washing machines and we take away almost 450 million litres of it every day. Your used water enters 17,051 km of wastewater pipes before getting treated at a wastewater treatment plant.

Want to know more? Learn more about our water and wastewater network.

Groundwater replenishment

Climate change is real, so we need to secure climate-resilient water sources to continue to reduce our dependence on rain. One of these sources is groundwater replenishment.

This is where wastewater is treated to drinking water standards and then recharged into our groundwater supplies. The water then stays in our aquifers where it’s naturally filtered until needed. If that’s a shock to you, then here’s a thought: the amount of water on earth never actually changes, so all water is already naturally recycled in some way. The water you drink now is the same water dinosaurs drank!

The great thing about this process is it doesn’t rely on rainfall and has the potential to recycle large volumes of water naturally and sustainably.

Want to know how it works? Read up on the innovative groundwater replenishment process.

Water recycling

When water goes down the drain, it isn’t wasted. We either recycle the precious resource for other uses or it naturally enters the water cycle all over again.

Here are just a few of the ways we’re giving new life to water:

  • We supply recycled water for industry and business. The Kwinana Water Recycling Plant has been supplying high quality recycled water to the nearby industrial area since 2004 which has reduced scheme water use by 50 per cent in the area.
  • We recycle water for public open spaces. We’re involved in approximately 50 water recycling schemes across WA to irrigate parks, gardens, golf courses, sports grounds and other open spaces.

Want to know more? Read up on all the ways we’re recycling water.

Water for Councils

Waterwise Council Program

Through our Waterwise Council Program, we’ve been supporting councils to implement innovative water efficiency initiatives to create liveable and resilient communities.

Since 2009, over 80 per cent of metro councils have been participating in the program, spreading the message to over 1.6 million of Perth’s residents.

Check out some of the work done by local councils to build waterwise communities for you and your family to enjoy.

City of Subiaco

City of Subiaco redesigned their Mabel Talbot Reserve to include over 7,000 beautiful native plants, which thrive in our climate. An added benefit is carbon emissions and fertiliser use has been reduced, improving biodiversity in the park. But best of all, a 15 per cent reduction in the council’s scheme water use has been achieved.

City of Bayswater

City of Bayswater has a smart way of keeping their 190 parks, ovals and greenspaces functional and waterwise at the same time. They use a centralised irrigation system that automatically switches off when rain is forecast – clever!

City of Canning

City of Canning is a place you can really be proud of – even if Mayor, Paul Ng does say so himself. Their facilities have implemented a range of water saving initiatives which has saved them millions of litres of water. Cannington Leisureplex, for example, use timed showers, innovative water filters and greywater recycling just to name a few.

City of Mandurah

Residents within City of Mandurah are all doing their bit to save water. Many have committed to giving their verges a waterwise makeover, replacing the existing landscaping with waterwise plants and mulch. The community have also made stencils and painted the message ‘this drains into our waterways’ across numerous stormwater drains throughout the town, as part of their Blue Crab Program. City of Mandurah also use recycled water to irrigate many public open spaces.

Water for community

Orange Sky

A shower, a clean and warm set of clothes, a friendly chat. They’re all simple things, but for the 9,500 people in WA experiencing homelessness, they’re sadly a luxury. Luckily, Orange Sky is here to help.

Orange Sky is a national charity using specially designed vans to give a free shower and laundry service to people doing it tough in Perth. WA’s first combined laundry and shower van called Lottie, is now operating in Perth, supported by Water Corporation and Lotterywest.

This initiative is a fantastic example of how precious water really is – even a small amount can make a truly enormous difference.

 

Businesses

Saving water is everyone’s business.

That’s why as part of our Waterwise Business Program, we’re working with over 316 business customers to reduce their water use through initiatives like water recycling, improved water efficiency and water-saving technology.

Businesses using more than 20,000kL of scheme a year are required to submit a Water Efficiency Management Plan detailing targets to improve efficiency and planned water-saving actions and initiatives. They also need to provide annual progress reports so we can track them against their targets.

The program has helped businesses save over 83 billion litres of water so far!

If you want to know what businesses are involved, read our Business Case Studies.