Water users in Western Australia including gardeners, nurseries and growers have been altered to proposed changes in access to bore water. In a letter to water users published in the Nursery and Garden Industry WA’s weekly newsletter, Greenlife WA, Michelle Andrews, Director General of Agriculture in WA, states that the proposed changes are in line with moves to balance ground water which have fallen to dangerous levels.
Download the letter Here.
She states that since 1980 the water table across the Gnangara mound has fallen by up to 10m, which represents a 1000GL loss of aquifer storage. Over half of the 30 sites used to gauge the health of Gnangara’s ground water dependent ecosystems are now breaching minimum water levels.
She says the draft Gnangara groundwater allocation plan, developed over five years of consultation with stakeholders, provides water users with certainty of ongoing supply and ensures the long-term environmental sustainability of the Gnangara system.
To support industries reliant on groundwater from the Gnangara system including horticulture, proposed reductions in water entitlements for most licenced ground water users have been limited to just 10 per cent. A 27 per cent reduction to groundwater taken by Water Corporation for Perth’s drinking water is also proposed. The d changes would come into effect from July 2028.
Under the proposed changes, using bore water to water gardens will be only allowed twice a week (currently it is allowed three times a week) with an estimated saving of 30GL of ground water. It is estimated garden sprinklers account for about a fifth of all the water drawn from ground water in the Perth to Mandurah areas.
Speaking out against the changes, talk back gardening host Sabrina Hahn says home gardeners are being unfairly targeted in the bid to reduce ground water use. She is calling for a multipronged approach incorporating recycling, redirecting and capturing of water that runs into drains which she says would have long-term benefits.
“To single out gardeners and not even consider industry usage seems very unfair and not based on relevant or recent data on home bore water usage,” says Sabrina. “Gardeners who nurture and care for their gardens, share their space with hundreds of other species, they encourage and preserve biodiversity, cool the planet, and create habitat for a myriad of organisms.
“We need to preserve the few larger gardens that remain in Perth, they are a sanctuary to the many species under threat due to climate change and lack of habitat.”
She urges everyone to give feedback to DWER and promises to be very proactive in fighting this decision and encourage a better solution to save our groundwater.
In her letter, the Director General also noted that: “Over the past two decades, the State Government has responded to the impacts of climate change on Perth’s water resources, by investing in climate-independent water sources with over 45 per cent of water supplied to Perth’s lntegrated Water Supply Scheme coming from desalinated seawater and through Groundwater Replenishment.
“The State Government has also announced $1.4 billion in the 2021-22 State Budget for a third desalination plant, providing another climate-independent drinking water source.”
The public is invited to comment on the proposed changes by February 28, 2022.