Hon Graham Jacobs MBBS FRACGP MLA

Hon Graham Jacobs MBBS FRACGP MLA

Former Minister for Water; Mental Health

    Water fines down, water reserves up: keep up the good work Western Australia

    23/12/2009 1:00 AM

    Water Minister Graham Jacobs said a dramatic reduction in the number of people fined for breaking the two days a week sprinkler roster suggested growing community recognition of doing the right thing in conserving water.


    Dr Jacobs today released Water Corporation figures that showed in the past six months:


    • infringement notices issued by field officers had dropped more than 64 per cent to 154
    • this compared with 438 in the corresponding months in 2008, warning notices fall 31 per cent in the same periods from 2,817 to 1,926. 

    “There had been a steady decline in the number of fines in recent years but a drop of this magnitude was as unexpected as it is welcome,” Dr Jacobs said.


    “Overall there appears to be a much greater awareness in the community of the sprinkler roster and why it is necessary.


    “There has been a lot of positive media coverage in the past year or so on the need for everyone to be more water efficient and it is a great credit to everyone that challenges such as the drying climate and our growing population are getting this type of reaction from people.”


    The Minister said awareness of water efficiency was also enhanced in the past six months by the State Government’s trial total winter sprinkler ban drawing further attention to the roster.


    “We will continue to promote awareness of the roster and its role in water demand management because it is much more preferable to educate the community on its requirements than issue warnings and fines,” he said.


    “However, the vast majority of the community do observe the roster and they will continue to expect the corporation to act when the roster is blatantly broken.”


    Factors that influenced the large reductions included the corporation issuing fewer new lawn exemptions than in recent years, resulting in many householders being fined for continuing to water their lawns on non roster days after the exemption period had ended.  


    Dr Jacobs also asked that the community pay special attention to their water usage through summer with the current spell of prolonged hotter weather resulting in consumption exceeding one billion litres Sunday and Monday and close to it on Saturday and yesterday. 


    “That’s equivalent to the Subiaco Oval full to the top with water for four days in a row,” he said.


    “Obviously we expect spikes in usage during periods of very hot weather, but it is a lot of water and we ask that the community make every effort without impinging on lifestyle.


    “We are in the best supply position right now for about a decade with the dams still at about 50 per cent and the Perth Seawater Desalination Plant operating consistently at full capacity so there is water in the bank but it would be a shame to waste any of it needlessly.


    “At this time of the year lawns and gardens account for up to 70 per cent of water usage but there is solid scientific evidence that they will be okay with about 10 minutes of water per station on the rostered days with occasional hand watering on very hot days in between.”


    The State Government has just completed the community consultation process in regards to the trial winter water sprinkler ban and will announce a formal decision on permanent winter water sprinkler bans early in the New Year.


    Minister's office  - 9213 6900