Perth is perched on top of a massive groundwater resource which is equivalent to 25 Lake Argyles, according to Mines Minister George Cash.
Releasing the result of 30 years' work on the hydrogeology and geology of the Perth region, Mr Cash said the use of this groundwater resource on a sustainable basis was good news for consumers, industry and importantly, for the environment.
"The ability to tap into this important resource and to develop strategies for Perth's growth and development hinges on sound scientific understanding," he said.
"This ongoing study of the groundwater will enable informed public debate on future water supply strategies and provide crucial knowledge for engineers to deliver the water to the public."
The study, called 'The Hydrogeology and Groundwater Resources of the Perth Region' (bulletin number 142), has brought together for the first time, extensive research and investigation carried out by the Department of Minerals and Energy's geological survey division and the Western Australian Water Authority.
The research analyses the quality of the groundwater resource which occurs within a multi-layered system of artesian aquifers and estimates the flow, storage and replacement of water.
Mr Cash said the bulletin provided critical information for the managers of Perth's groundwater, planners and others with an interest in the control and protection of a resource that was vital for horticulture, industry, environment and the people of Perth.
He said the Water Authority and consumers currently tapped about 300 million cubic metres of groundwater, which was five times the annual net yield of the Serpentine Dam, the largest surface reservoir serving Perth. This amount was about half the estimated sustainable annual yield the aquifers could provide as the city continued to grow.
"Results in the bulletin indicate about 150,000 million cubic metres of groundwater, or the equivalent of 25 Lake Argyles, is stored beneath the Perth region," he said.
"This groundwater resource provides great water supply security and flexibility to take Perth well into the next century.
"It is a big plus for our future development and for the planned protection and management of our unique flora and fauna."
Providing a hydrogeological framework for computer-aided modelling of Perth's groundwater resources, the bulletin complements the recently released 'Perth's Water Future - a vision for the water supply of Perth and Mandurah to 2050'.
Copies of the bulletin are available for $50 each from the Department of Minerals and Energy's first floor counter at Mineral House, 100 Plain Street, East Perth.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595