McGowan Government moves to secure Denmark’s water supplies
Media Statement from Hon Dave Kelly BA MLA
- Climate change dries up Denmark's water supply
- Denmark is again tracking for one of its driest years on record
- Up to $39 million needed to secure Denmark's long-term water supply
- Stage 5 water restrictions for Denmark from October 1, 2019
- Water to be carted from Albany pending a new pipeline to be built to Denmark
Water Minister Dave Kelly has announced the State Government will need to spend up to $39 million to secure Denmark's water supply, as reduced rainfall due to climate change means Denmark's dams can no longer be relied upon.
Denmark has recorded three of the driest years on record since 2014, and this year is also tracking to be one of the driest years on record. This has resulted in significantly less water running into Quickup Dam - Denmark's primary water source.
The long-term average streamflow into Quickup Dam is about 2,000 million litres per year. This year the dam is tracking to receive the lowest streamflow on record, with just 305 million litres of water so far received.
The McGowan Government, through the Water Corporation, will now spend up to $39 million on a plan to secure Denmark's water supply. The plan includes:
- Stage 5 water restrictions for Denmark will be put in place from October 1, 2019;
- Carting water to Denmark from Albany to supplement the local drinking water scheme until a new pipeline is built (up to $7 million);
- Build a new water pipeline to connect Denmark to the Lower Great Southern Towns Water Supply Scheme (LGSTWSS) in Albany (up to $32 million); and
- Work with the Denmark community to help them use less scheme water through the Denmark Waterwise Towns Program commencing on October 1, 2019.
The first steps will be to implement Stage 5 water restrictions and a Waterwise Towns Program in Denmark from October 1, 2019. Stage 5 water restrictions were last implemented in Denmark in late 2014 and 2015.
Water carting from Albany will begin later in the year subject to dam levels. These short-term measures will secure the town's water supply over the coming summer.
In the longer term, Denmark will be connected to the LGSTWSS through the construction of a new pipeline to Albany. The pipeline will provide a long-term water supply to the Denmark community. Work is expected to begin in 2020 following extensive environmental surveys and approvals to determine the best route.
Water supplied through the LGSTWSS is mostly sourced from groundwater on the South Coast Peninsula around Albany. The remainder of the water is sourced from surface water from the Two Peoples Bay catchment area.
The Waterwise Towns Program for Denmark will include free showerhead swaps, irrigation checks, rainwater tank rebates and free plumbing checks for households to look for leaks or identify other opportunities for water efficiency.
There will be no impact on Denmark customers' bills as a result of this plan, because of the State Government's policy to subsidise regional areas to ensure country customers pay no more than metropolitan customers for the first 300 kilolitres of water used.
The subsidy paid in 2017-18 by the State Government for Denmark water users was $5.9 million. This will increase by up to $2.9 million per year to fund the new pipeline which could cost up to $32 million. This will result in Denmark households and businesses receiving a subsidy of approximately $3,663 per year from the State Government.
For more details, visit http://www.watercorporation.com.au/waterwisedenmark
Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
"Like many parts in the south-west of Western Australia, Denmark simply doesn't receive the amount of rain that it used to due to the very real impact of climate change.
"Denmark's water supply is solely reliant on rainfall. If we don't act now, Denmark could run out of water before next winter.
"This situation could have been avoided if the previous Liberal National Government had acknowledged climate change and built the Albany pipeline in 2015. Instead, they wasted $12.7 million connecting Denmark's two dams, both of which are rainfall dependent.
"The McGowan Government is investing up to $39 million in Denmark to implement a new water security plan, which will mean Denmark's water supply is no longer solely reliant on rainfall into local dams.
"Stage 5 restrictions mean garden sprinkler systems can only be used one day a week instead of the normal two days during summer.
"It is expected the water restrictions will save about 29 million litres of water, which is equivalent to about three weeks' water supply for the town.
"I encourage the community to work with the Water Corporation as we implement this plan and embrace the water saving offers available through the Waterwise Towns Program."