How well do consumers know the source of their drinking water?

Posted 8 March 2017

Water pouring from a faucet into a clear glass cupAlmost half of Western Australians have no idea where their drinking water originates, according to a new Water Corporation survey. 

The results were worst among young people: the survey showed that 61% of 18-35-year-olds did not know where their water came from. 

Despite the fact that two desalination plants deliver 150 billion litres to Perth – or half the city’s drinking water – most people believe dams and groundwater are the key sources.

Water Corp Spokeswoman Clare Lugar said the survey results were unsurprising, and proved the role of desalinated water as a quiet achiever in the WA water industry.

“The research seems to reinforce the dam legacy, but it also shows how seamlessly climate-independent desalination has become part of our supply mix,” she said. 

“It is fascinating that our connection to [dams] is still so strong, and as soon as it rains, we always get asked if they are filling up yet.”

While they contributed almost all of Perth’s water 30 years ago, dams accounted for barely 7% of water supply in the 2015-16 financial year. 

Similarly, groundwater supplied only 46%, which is down from nearly 70% a decade ago. 

The responses come after a multibillion-dollar overhaul of the Perth’s water network to ensure it is able to withstand declining rainfall.