Water Minister Graham Jacobs said he was confident Western Australia was well placed to manage the reductions in surface water and groundwater levels predicted by a CSIRO report released yesterday.
The Minister said the State Government had been working with very similar predictions in its strategic planning to directly address the potential water supply shortages.
“We can’t control the rainfall but we can manage available water resources, and the State’s water professionals have been working with these predictions for some time,” Dr Jacobs said.
“I feel confident this report vindicates the work by the Government, in particular the Department of Water and the Water Corporation in their forward planning.”
The Minister said he wanted to reassure households and businesses that they would not run out of drinking water with the Government investing $3.5billion in water-related projects in the next four years.
“WA has a good track record of managing its water resources and water supply during periods of drought and the longer-term drying climate,” he said.
“We were the first State to build a seawater desalination plant and a second plant will be online by the end of 2011.
“After this we will not need another major drinking water source until 2020 and, if water efficiency programs deliver real per capita reductions in water use, this date may be even later.
”The Government has plans in place to control the allocation of the vital Gnangara groundwater resource and an across-government strategy for the water resource.
“It has a robust, strategic regional water planning framework, including a suite of plans covering the whole of the State, and the visionary Perth-Peel regional water plan.
“Awareness of water efficiency has also been enhanced by last year’s trial winter sprinkler ban and this has continued with a significant reduction in water use this summer.”
Dr Jacobs said the State’s biggest scheme water provider, the Water Corporation, had considered in its 50-year Water Forever plan, released in October 2009, a range of innovative new water sources that could be developed. It was working closely with the Department of Water on these potential sources.
He was confident the Government could continue to sustainably manage water resources without constraining social and economic growth.
Minister's office - 9213 6900