New approach to water use
Old legislation does not provide for management of innovative new ways to manage water. Our proposed legislation will make it possible to do so and enable, for example, management of the injection or infiltration of water into or through our groundwater resources.
Making new rules will lead to increased investment in innovative water management solutions and managing these new approaches will protect the quality of our groundwater resources for other users and the community.
Managed aquifer recharge
An example of a new approach to manage water is managed aquifer recharge. This is the injection of recycled water into groundwater where it can be stored for later use.
In 2012 the Water Corporation successfully completed the groundwater replenishment trial which showed conclusively that managed aquifer recharge is a highly viable option to boost drinking water supplies in Western Australia. The state government has announced that groundwater replenishment will become the next climate independent water source for Perth.
Construction is underway to build Australia's first full scale groundwater replenishment scheme. When complete, the scheme will have the capacity to recharge 14 billion litres of recycled water per year into deep confined aquifers, providing an additional secure, rainfall independent water source for Perth.
The new Water Resources Management Act will:
- set the rules for accounting for water that is stored in aquifers
- provide security of ownership of stored water
- set the rules by which the stored water can be abstracted
- deal with inconsistencies with other legislation e.g. Environmental Protection Act 1986
- expand the available water options e.g. stormwater/wastewater re-use.
Legislative provisions also cater for emerging technologies such as geothermal energy, hydraulic fracturing, geosequestration and in-situ leaching (into aquifers).