As the mercury in our thermometers here in spring-y Perth start to expand, and the almost-summer warm air starts to drift into town, the (sort of) rains of our winter are a distant memory.
While it’s a delightful reason to relax in our parks and beaches whenever we want (sorry Melbourne), something many of us probably don’t realise it that Perth recorded its fourth driest winter on record this year (and doesn’t winter seem oh so long ago? Ugg boots out = thongs in!).
We only got a measly 490 mm of rain in metropolitan gauges by the end of winter this year, which is ~28% per cent below the long-term average.
Plus, a combination of drier soils and reduced rainfall has also meant less water is flowing into metro dams (90% runoff below the long-term average). This has resulted in 21.8 billion litres of runoff – enough only to supply Perthian households & business for ~22 day summer days.
Climate change continues to be the biggest challenge facing Perth’s water supply system. As a result we rely on desalinated water to supply with 43% of our water. We’re also using more and more recycled water through the Water Corporation’s Integrated Water Supply Scheme (IWSS).
As WA’s climate gets hotter and drier, and as our population grows, we need to manage our thirst for water more than ever – this is just as vital as investing in new sources of water.
There are a whole bunch of ways we can start doing this ourselves before the searing heat of summer sets in again:
- check whether you have a leak & get a waterwise plumber to fix it with the help of a $100 rebate (see Water Corporation’s Leak Assist program)
- get back into the garden or spruce up your verge this spring to plant yourself some pretty waterwise plants (and bring those bees back! Some local councils will even help you with making your verge waterwise)
- scrape those extra bits of food off your plates into the bin/compost – NO RINSING before popping them into the dishwasher!
- choose 4 or more WELS stars for taps in the kitchen (6 WELS star in the bathroom), dishwashers & washing machines
- check out the Smart Water Mark website for all sorts of ideas on products fort reducing your water footprint
Warmer winters with less frequent rainfall are the new normal – this year is not going to be a one-off. So when you have a spare moment, sit down, look at the list above, and do a quick check of how you could save water at home or in the office/shed/shop! Not only will you save yourself some money, you will also be helping the community manage our precious water supply.
And don’t forget that next week is National Water Week – the perfect time to do so!