How does groundwater support our environment?

Without groundwater we wouldn’t have the lakes, wetlands, green parks, bush and trees that make Perth such an enjoyable place to live.

Many people have made significant investments so they can live near and enjoy wetlands, bushland and trees. The presence of wetlands adds to home values by about $4 billion across Perth, and native vegetation on the Gnangara Mound is valued at $100 million[1].

[1] Marsden Jacob Associates 2012, Assessing the value of groundwater, Waterlines report, National Water Commission, Canberra


Supports lakes and wetlands

Our natural lakes and iconic wetlands on the Gnangara Mound depend on groundwater to survive. These include Loch McNess (Yanchep National Park), Lake Joondalup and Herdsman Lake.

Supports vegetation

Some of the bushland and large trees in our communities and parks tap into groundwater to survive our hot, dry summers.

Helps create our sense of place

Lakes, wetlands, vegetation and cave systems that depend on groundwater help support rare species, create our ‘sense of place’, link closely with cultural values and make our communities cooler and more attractive places in which to live.

Protects water quality

Leaving enough water in the ground also helps protect water quality by
preventing saltwater from moving into the aquifer from the sea and not exposing acid-forming soils.

Managing our iconic wetlands

Ministerial statement no. 819 sets environmental water provisions in the form of water level criteria at 30 sites across the Gnangara Mound – 14 iconic wetland sites and 16 terrestrial phreatophytic vegetation sites. Phreatophytic vegetation is vegetation that uses groundwater to meet at least part of its water needs.

Ministerial conditions and commitments were established in 1986 to manage how groundwater was abstracted for public water supply and manage the expected growth in private licensed use at the time. The most recent revision in 2008 removed seven sites and amended the water level criteria at three sites. The water level criteria at the current sites represent contemporary environmental water provisions, suitable for protecting significant environmental values of groundwater-dependent ecosystems supported by the Gnangara Mound.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation reports on compliance with Ministerial conditions and commitments for the Gnangara Mound each year, which is published in annual and triennial reports. Ministerial compliance reports can be found on our main website.

Protecting water for the environment through allocation planning

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation uses water allocation plans to protect the diverse range of environments that depend on water resources. We work with the community and stakeholders to help set environmental water outcomes and optimise our management approach.

We are working on the next Gnangara groundwater allocation plan now.

See our main website for how we protect our environment through water allocation planning.


We use our expertise in the hydrological and ecological sciences to protect environments that depend on our water resources.