Water Minister Dave Kelly today announced the release of the Cockburn Groundwater Allocation Plan and the revised policy for Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) – both initiatives delivered as part of the McGowan Government’s Waterwise Perth Action Plan.
The south-west of Western Australia is one of the places on the planet most affected by reduced rainfall due to climate change and as Perth has become drier, recharge to our groundwater has been significantly reduced.
As climate change continues to impact on our traditional water sources, new and innovative ways are being looked at to secure water supplies. Appropriate recharge of our aquifers is one such approach that can help make the best re-use of our valuable water resources and create climate-resilient supplies.
Managed Aquifer Recharge is the injection or infiltration of water into an aquifer for later recovery, environmental benefit, or to counteract the impacts of abstraction. For example, stormwater or wastewater can be recycled, treated and put back in aquifers where it can be stored for later use.
The revised MAR policy and guidelines provide a management framework for aquifer recharge operations in Western Australia. They also include useful information to assist with establishing a managed aquifer recharge project, while safeguarding the environment, water users and public health.
The revised MAR policy and guideline also supports proponents in investigating whether aquifer recharge is a viable and cost-effective solution to meet their water demands.
The Cockburn Groundwater Allocation Plan sets out how the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will manage and allocate the groundwater resources in the Cockburn groundwater area. Responding to the impacts of climate change, supporting the growth and productivity of industry in Cockburn and Kwinana, and maintaining the health of local wetlands and urban landscapes is central to the plan.
Under this new plan, local groundwater users are encouraged to become more waterwise, with a range of management strategies and additional protections for this valuable groundwater resource also introduced in response to the impacts of climate change.
The new plan provides a framework for the sustainable take of groundwater for parks and gardens, irrigated agriculture and industry in the Western Trade Coast industrial area, while also protecting groundwater-dependent ecosystems such as wetlands, lakes and urban trees across the area.
The plan and revised MAR policy will contribute to achieving two key targets of the Waterwise Perth Action Plan:
- to reduce groundwater use by 10 per cent across the Perth and Peel region by the year 2030; and
- to ensure recycled and alternative water supplies make up 45 per cent of the projected gap between future water demand and water supply.
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“The south-west of WA is one of the places on the planet most affected by climate change. As Perth has become hotter and drier, our groundwater availability has significantly reduced.
“The new water allocation plan sets out how we can respond to the impacts of climate change and better manage valuable groundwater resources in the Cockburn groundwater area – while supporting local industry and protecting the local environment and amenity.
“Recharging our aquifers helps optimise the use of our valuable water resources, and will serve as an important supplement to our finite groundwater resources which are being impacted by climate change.”