Ensuring water security in a drying climate
Water security is seen as the greatest challenge for the region. As a result of continued and projected further growth in many economic sectors, there will be increased demand on shared resources, particularly high-quality water. Water security is increasingly under threat from climate change, with many farmers and station managers having already sold livestock due to on-going water deficiencies.
Water is a key facet of the region’s economic, environmental and social fabric. The last comprehensive regional water supply strategy for the GE region was undertaken by the Government of Western Australia in 2002. Since then, climate change has had significant impact on water resources and CSIRO projections are that the region will continue to become hotter and drier, with increased weather and climate variability.
Concerns have repeatedly been noted by State and Federal governments who have in the past flagged the potential need for additional pipelines and desalination facilities, combined with increased recycling and further efficiency measures. Further implementation of such new technologies within the GE region is needed to support the growth of local industry and additionally provide professional and technical services to support regional employment.
The current high cost of water could also detract from the GE region’s competitiveness in the downstream processing sectors and more sustainable cost-effective solutions are needed to prepare for and attract economic diversification opportunities.
As a project within the GVROC Regional Climate Alliance, a water strategy will be undertaken by GVROC in 2022-23.