WATER EFFICIENCY

Water is a valuable and scarce resource. Its scarcity and value are attributed to the numerous activities that involve water- use and the reducing water sources. If you have brushed your teeth, had a shower, washed the dishes or watered the garden you’ve used water – water is used every day. Changing precipitation trends, such as the movement of water away from south Western Australia towards humid climates, such as northern Australia has reduced overall rainfall received by south Western Australia. Since the mid-1970s, 16% reduction in rainfall has been experienced (Petrone et al., 2010). Reduced precipitation trends corresponding with the almost 1 degree Celsius rise in the earth’s temperature through the 20th Century has increased demands on water sources and compounded the scarcity of water (IPCCAR4, IPCC, 2007). The population of south Western Australia is estimated to increase by approximate 40% by 2030 (Silberstien et al., 2012). Reduced precipitation trends, increased temperature trends and an increasing population will continue to place pressure on water resources into the future. Therefore, the efficient use of water is paramount for sustained water availability for everybody now and in the future.

Efficient water-use inside and outside the home can reduce water scarcity as well as household costs. Community initiatives have become tools used to address excessive water use at a local scale and can be effective in creating a sustainable community when implemented with local government support. An example of a community initiative is the Community Guide introduced by the Water Corporation.

The following links provide ideas on water saving and water-use at home.

Tips on saving water indoors

http://www.water.wa.gov.au/urban-water/water-recycling-efficiencies/water-efficiency

Tips on saving water outdoors

http://www.water.wa.gov.au/urban-water/water-recycling-efficiencies/water-efficiency              

http://www.water.wa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/1654/86059.pdf

Do you know your sprinkler number?

http://www.water.wa.gov.au/urban-water/water-restrictions/sprinkler-roster/south-west-area-4

Do you need a license for access to bore water?

http://www.water.wa.gov.au/licensing/water-licensing/do-i-need-a-licence-or-permit 

The local government can also increase water efficiency and reduce operational costs through water auditing, which would identify the need for water-efficient technologies at local government owned buildings and activities.  For example, the community Recreation Centre could employ the following water saving technologies for increased water efficiency:

  • Auto turn off taps at sinks and showers;
  • Water saving shower heads;
  • Flow regulation showers;
  • Flow regulation toilets;
  • Greywater reuse;
  • Reuse of backwash water; and
  • Pool covers.

References

IPCC, 2007a. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. In: Parry, M.L., Canziani, O.F., Palutikof, J.P., van der Linden, P.J., Hanson, C.E. (Eds.), Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom; New York, NY, USA.

K.C. Petrone, J.D. Hughes, T.G. Van Niel, R.P. Silberstein. Streamflow decline in southwestern Australia, 1950–2008 Geophys. Res. Lett., 37 (11) (2010), p. 11401, 10.1029/2010GL043102R

Silberstein, R., Aryal, S., Durrant, J., Pearcey, M., Braccia, M., Charles, S., Boniecka, L., et al. (2012). Climate change and runoff in south-western Australia. Journal of Hydrology, 475. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.02.009