What’s our goal for Gnangara groundwater?
We at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation have the state government responsibility for managing the state’s water resources and how they are used.
Our goal for Gnangara groundwater is to rebalance the Gnangara groundwater system by 2030 to secure our lowest cost and most accessible water source for Perth and to support a healthy environment.
What’s the plan?
To make sure we have Gnangara groundwater for now and the future, we have begun working on the next Gnangara groundwater allocation plan, consulting with the Water Corporation and water users to find practical pathways to bring the system back into balance by 2030.
This will be a challenge. We will help in any way we can by promoting innovative water projects, building capacity in water efficiency, sharing research and exploring new water supply options with water users.
To help guide the rebalancing, we will set new limits on groundwater availability as part of the next allocation plan. This may also include changes to how we license groundwater.
What ‘rebalanced’ looks like will be developed through the planning process over the next year. We will focus on achieving a productive and sustainable groundwater supply and a healthy environment in the face of an ever-drying climate.
In developing the plan, we will work with water users to identify how to phase in new solutions and minimise impacts on people and businesses.
We are also taking a longer view. Our parallel work on Perth and Peel Water @ 3.5 million is assessing the water demand outlook and considering the water supply strategies to meet water needs, particularly non-potable water needs, for a city growing to 3.5 million people by around 2050.
Better water outcomes are also more achievable if we work together. There are great examples of this across different industries.
The Waterwise Council Program, developed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and the Water Corporation, has built a cooperative working relationship with local governments resulting in improved water use efficiency within council facilities, public open space, and within the communities. The partners are continuing to improve this program for better groundwater outcomes.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is a participant along with other state agencies, local governments and the private sector in the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, which is researching how water management can support cities to be sustainable, resilient, productive and liveable. All of the research is available online, including a vision for Perth as a water sensitive city, see website www.watersensitivecities.org.au
We now need to take the next steps necessary to protect this important resource into the future.