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What are your ideas for future use of domestic garden bores in Perth?

about 1 month ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Domestic garden bores add to the water supply for many households in the Perth metropolitan area. They tap into shallow local groundwater, a resource that is also used for watering crops, schools, parks and playing fields, drinking water, and is important for the environment and liveability.

To encourage households with a domestic garden bore to be waterwise, the Department of Water manages water use through restrictions and a winter sprinkler ban, and advises where water quality is unsuitable for domestic garden bores. Looking ahead, as we experience the effects of a drying climate, there will be less groundwater available to share. It is time to think about how we use domestic garden bores so our groundwater remains sustainable. What are your ideas for that?

Peter BoreWellForum about 1 month ago
There are 200 000 domestic private groundwater bores in Western Australia representing about one in 3 households - the highest ratio in the country. These are estimated to supply about 100 GL, (about 500 kl per bore) or equivalent to about 25 % of scheme water supplied.
Will these bores still be pumping good water in the next 10 years?
WA has abundant superficial groundwater resources, which extend over much of the populated South West corner of the State. Climate change contributes to declining rainfall, and this, combined with a growing population, is raising doubts about resource viability and sustainability.
Our current dilemma:
Groundwater is out-of-sight, out-of-mind for most West Australians, and this leads to a dilemma: how can householders get better value from their bores, and use the water resource sustainably, if you can’t see it, measure and manage it?
This is some of what is known about private bores in WA:
• Anyone can construct a bore, and you can use as much water as you want, with very light handed restrictions on water use
• There are many suppliers and contractors ready to help with bore construction or operational services
• There are few standards, and types of bore equipment vary widely
• Many bore owners don’t know how their bore operates, or even where it is located
• There is an overriding lack of information on the bore asset base, and sustainability or future viability of the water resource
Why does this matter?
The value of Western Australian households’ investments in their private bores is estimated at around $1 billion. This investment has occurred over many years without government support, and with little fanfare.
These domestic private bores collectively provide major community benefits including:
• 100 GL of costly scheme water is replaced with cheap fit for purpose water, and a consequent reduction in scheme water consumption, with an estimated annual benefit of over $100 million
• 200 000 green spaces and gardens, enhancing the amenities of suburbs, and making our communities more liveable
• Enhanced water security, providing a backup and potential potable water supply in the event of a water crisis.

What is needed now
There is an increasing need for good information on the following aspects of private domestic bores:
• How many bores are there, and where they are
• How much water they deliver
• What condition they are in, how old they are, and how many are out of service
• How reliable they are, and how often they are used
• What equips them (e.g. pump equipment type / make / casing material)
• Basic hydrogeology e.g. depth, bore diameter, water quality, source aquifer
• Basic water accounting data e.g. demand vs supply in specific areas of the superficial aquifer, and is this sustainable?
• What is the best way to improve their performance?
Proposed actions
The following actions are proposed to improve the sustainability and cost effectiveness of private domestic bores:
• increased monitoring of individual bore consumption, bore asset condition, and water delivered, on a voluntary basis
• improved reporting by State Government on the state of the superficial aquifers from which domestic bores obtain their water, showing demand, water availability, sustainability and water quality
• consider a Waterwise Bore Rebate Program which offers subsidies which encourage and facilitate bore efficiency, sharing and community bores
• develop information resources to assist householders including:
o How to measure, compare and improve the sustainability of their bores
o How to connect and share neighbouring bores
o A sustainable bore owner’s manual
o Bore problem solving resource kits (see

These actions may require management, incentives or support by State Government, and will provide an important next step towards a more sustainable, efficient and resilient domestic bore sector in Western Australia.
Carole about 1 month ago
Homeowners who have invested money into bores and pumps to water their gardens, have taken this step so they do not waste scheme water on their gardens. People who have made this investment are probably keen gardeners, potentially growing their own fruit and vegetables. Gardening has been proven to be beneficial to health and well being and people who grow their own fruit and vegetables have been shown to be healthier. If more people were encouraged to garden particularly our aging population there would be less pressure on our health systems and hospitals. Established gardens with plenty of tree canopy cover are beneficial for the environment providing much needed shade and cooling to mitigate the heat island effect that is increasing in our cities. Councils have shown that they are struggling to maintain tree canopy cover on Council and Government land and are looking increasingly to private gardens to establish trees to support their tree canopy targets.
Education and promotions around not wasting water and better effienciency is the way forward, not further bans and restrictions.
I would propose that education around efficient sprinkler systems for both home owners and councils are promoted and that it should be pointed out that watering the roads is a waste of water.
Better initiatives around water sensitive urban design utilising storm water run off to keep verges alive is also something that should be promoted.
Thanks for the opportunity to comment
WA Turf Industry about 1 month ago
All Green spaces, including domestic gardens, are well recognised as playing a major beneficial role in the control and improvement of urban water impacts and quality, via the improvement of stormwater runoff reduction, flood mitigation, minimisation of soil erosion and contaminant removal. Water and vegetation are both also recognised to positively impact on the urban heat island effect. Green space should not therefore be seen as a water consumer but as a critical part of the urban water cycle.

Historically in Perth the business case for alternate water sources has been undermined by the comparatively low cost of scheme water and the perception of abundant groundwater. With the supply of scheme water now heavily constrained, and groundwater sources under pressure, the case for the use of alternate water sources, such as recycled water, to support green space becomes significantly more compelling. The application of tried and tested water saving technologies and practices is presently severely underutilized in Perth, particularly within domestic and public green space irrigation.

We must remember when considering topics such as this that Perth is getting hotter, and in fact, that Perth could burn. The number of dead and dying gardens are at unprecedented levels. It is now rare to drive down a street and see a cooling, green garden. Given current perception that gardens are simply water guzzlers, without any benefit, for those who do wish to have a green garden, they are not only up against water authorities but often also the perceptions of their own communities.

Without sufficient quality green space, heat related deaths in Perth are likely to increase. Heat-wave related deaths in Perth are predicted to more than double by 2050. Furthermore, reducing the adverse health effects of air pollution on a growing population is important….We have to do better in the future if we are to manage the impacts of an extra 1.5 million people (EPA, 2015). Creating "hot" urban developments, "heat islands", small lots, no gardens, brick paving and cement or worse synthetic/plastic grass, concentrating only on water conservation and not water provision will have serious long term repercussions for our city and its residents.

There are many, many internationally and nationally documented benefits of green space, both private and public. Water has to be allocated and sourced to manage these high priority benefits.
• Urban green space is well recognised as mitigating the urban heat island effect.
• Green space additionally provides a range of beneficial outcomes for mental, physical and social wellbeing, yet these are not adequately addressed in public health care policy.
• The economic, social, health and environmental benefits of domestic green space are just as important as communal green spaces.
We must also be careful not to create a "have" and "have not" mentality. For those who believe that a green, living garden is important and beneficial, we should be putting in place mechanisms to ensure that there is enough water to support those benefits.

As the WA Turf Industry representative, I feel that it is important to note that home lawns have been well documented as improving our physical & mental health because:
• they are a low cost “injury prevention” surface for games and sports.
• they filter out dust and air pollutants thereby reducing respiratory diseases.
• they help us to relax, are aesthetically pleasing and reduce glare and traffic noise.
• “back yard” lawns provide a relatively safe area for children to play, a focus for social outdoor activities and a “run” for pets.
Lawns and turfgrass protect the environment because:
• they reduce global warming. They are a continuing source of oxygen and cool air, preventing the development of “heat islands”.
• by reducing peak stormwater run-off lawns reduce flooding, erosion and capital works costs.
• they allow rainfall to replenish groundwater for trees and shrubs, and complement them in the landscape.
Other benefits lawns provide:
• the likelihood of homes being destroyed in wildfires is reduced by lawns.
• in general, lawn root, do not damage the pavement or block drains.
• open lawn areas provide a feeling of security
• they afford visibility (of cars, bicycles & pedestrians), reducing accidents.

We can have both, water conservation and quality, living green domestic gardens. Domestic bores have been instrumental in affording this circumstance. Maybe if we stopped pumping storm water out to sea, and started pumping it directly back into aquifers, and we utilised third pipes in new developments, and we supported shared domestic bores and we used new age technologies better (and many more other initiatives), the humble domestic bore wouldn't be such a focus. We can do so much, much better. We have to remember just how important green living gardens are to urban liveability along the way.

The Green Space Alliance WA has developed a discussion paper and position statement pertinent to WA.
columbusgroup about 1 month ago
Recent USA Experience below. It raises the question, is there a need for coordinated water testing from domestic bores? In and around the Australand housing development, between Collier Rd and Scaden St Bassendean, there is a small park that I believe is watered from a bore. Should this be scheme water because the housing development lots have caveats that may not allow excavation and fruit tree plant growing that goes deeper than 600mm?

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columbusgroup about 1 month ago
Groundwater harvesting needs to be grouped with aquifer recharge. While house blocks are required to retain the stormwater within their block wherever possible (hence soak wells etc), just outside the property line the stormwater on the excellent catchment area (the road) us channelled via expensive drains to rivers and the like. So why not reduce the stress on local government stormwater drain systems and divert such water onto properties with bores etc, to better balance up the supply and demand arrangements.

As part of the deal, the private bore owners should also be responsible for extending their sprinkler system to the road verge and street trees to ensure a greener environment asset.
pavdw about 1 month ago
I agree that garden bores and an excellent use of local groundwater for external uses. They substitute water use from the scheme supplies so lessen the impact on the Integrated water supply scheme. However, I feel that bore users use too much water and over-water. They should be restricted to 2 days per week watering like the non-bore owners. They should be encouraged to reduce their watering amount. Metering is an option but I suspect may be hard to implement. With our drying climate I think these garden bores may become marginal in the future. Water may dry up and become salty. The emphasis should be on sustainability - use the water but wisely.