Water supply system

Planning a water supply for the future is anything but boring

While we all go about our business every day, there’s a network of bores at work under the ground, working to deliver the water we need for our enviable lifestyle.

In the Busselton area, most of our water comes from the Yarragadee aquifer which runs beneath the Swan Coastal Plain, all the way from Geraldton to the south coast.

It’s the oldest, largest and most dependable aquifer water supply in WA. Currently, we extract all of our drinking water from the Yarragadee using a coastal bore network (nine bores). The water is treated and then pumped to homes and businesses.

However, as climate change continues to have its impact on our planet, with rising sea levels and declining rainfall, it’s become clear the bores we have at work right now are too close to the coast and, as a result, the coastal bore network is slowly being impacted by saltwater intrusion.

This means the fresh water we draw from these bores, over time, will become salty and unsuitable for drinking. Fresh water contaminated with only five per cent of seawater makes it unusable. In the next 50 years, the coastal bore network simply won’t be able to supply the same high-quality water for our growing community.

Exploring new sources

Busselton Water’s key role is to ensure a safe and constant water supply to the community. We’ve been doing that for 100 years and we’ve already begun planning for the future and developing quality alternative sources.

Unlike in Perth and other areas around the State, Busselton does not currently have any alternative sources of water, such as desalination, dams or groundwater replenishment (aquifer recharge), for our drinking supplies. We can’t just take more water from the Yarragadee – the amount we can extract (our allocation) is capped.

So we need to consider how to best expand and manage our network of bores, plants and pipelines to serve a larger community.

New infrastructure inland

A critical planning development for the future is our proposed new inland infrastructure. We’ve explored other options like desalination and aquifer recharge, but these options are cost-prohibitive or unable to be achieved in a timeframe that meets the needs of our growing population. A new water treatment plant and inland bore network will help to secure reliable drinking water supplies for the next 50 years and beyond – it’s the best option for our long-term water future.

Busselton Water is in the early planning stages for the new water treatment plant (known as Plant 8) and the new bore (Bore 22). The new borefield will not only produce its own water but also reduce abstraction from the existing coastal bores – allowing them to have a longer life and future-proofing our drinking supplies against salination. The new inland bore and water treatment plant will be an essential part of overcoming the impacts of climate change on our water system, while also creating new opportunities in renewable energy and efficiency.

The community also has a role to play

The inland borefield is one of the key ways we are planning for the future. But we still need the support from the community to ensure a sustainable water supply.

We are actively encouraging waterwise behaviours right across our community to preserve our existing resource while we continue exploring innovative technologies and sustainable practices to safeguard our water supplies.

Managing our region’s water supply is complex – we must balance the needs of our community and cost efficiency with our region’s growth, our finite groundwater supply and a drying climate and its impacts.

The decisions we make today will ensure your future generations have access to sustainable, fresh drinking water.

If you’re looking for more ideas to save water and take the pressure off – you’ll find some here! 

And if you want to know more about Water for Tomorrow, you’ll also find more on our website.