A drought-proof Perth

Western Australia’s Water Corporation has developed a drought-proof plan for Perth to ensure there is enough water for all, even in the face of climate change and an increasing population. The plan aims to achieve the city’s goal of reducing water consumption by 25% by 2060. To help business and industrial customers reduce their water consumption and become drought-proof the Water Corporation has initiated its Water Efficiency Management Plan Program.

Water Efficiency Management Plan Program

The Water Efficiency Management Plan Program requires all businesses using more than 20,000kL of water a year to complete a Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP) to help save water. The program involves businesses detailing water saving actions and initiatives and providing annual progress reports about their efforts. As part of the program a WEMP includes:

  • Site water use history
  • Water saving opportunities (including benchmark indicators and targets)
  • Water saving action plan (including time-frames)
  • Management and Water Corporation commitment

Water Efficiency Management Plan Program benefits

Once the WEMP is submitted and accepted the plan is valid for 5 years. However, if the business changes ownership or water use increases significantly a revised WEMP may need to be submitted. To date 379 business are participating resulting in water savings of 45.6 billion liters over 7 years. In 2013-2014 alone 13 billion liters of water was saved. In addition to saving water businesses benefit from the program by:

  • Making financial savings through improved operational efficiency
  • Receiving recognition as a leader in water use efficiency and conservation
  • Improving public perception of the business
Drought-proof Perth

Drought-proof Perth

WEMP Recognition Scheme

To encourage businesses to go the extra mile in saving water the WEMP Recognition Scheme was established in 2012. Based on their water savings businesses could receive one of the following awards:

  • Champion: Achieved gold recognition or better for 2 consecutive years
  • Platinum: More than 50% improvement in water efficiency
  • Gold: 35-50% improvement in water efficiency
  • Silver: 25-35% improvement in water efficiency
  • Bronze: 10-25% improvement in water efficiency

There are multiple benefits from being recognized as a water-efficient business including:

  • Receiving a certificate profiling the category of award received
  • Free publicity on Water Corporation’s website and forums
  • The potential for a case study on the business’ water-saving achievements that will be posted on Water Corporation’s website
  • Promoting the award received on the company website and communications
  • The potential of becoming a water Champion

The take-out

Voluntary measures can be added to mandatory water conservation measures to encourage commercial customers to go the extra mile in saving water, which in turn provides businesses with numerous intangible benefits.

*Robert C. Brears is the author of Urban Water Security (Wiley). Urban Water Security argues that, with climate change and rapid urbanization, cities need to transition from supply-side to demand-side management to achieve urban water security.

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Author: Robert C. Brears

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Robert,
    Its a great opportunity for me to go through your piece. I am an avid reader of your timely and thought provoking essays of water use and its conservation.
    I came through many water conservation activities, programs,action plans going around from your writings.
    One thing Perth’s program can include choosing a company’s individual person as Lead Water Conservationist or so that would motivate others to follow.
    Thanks and regards.
    Inamul Musawwir Choudhury.
    Senior Consulting Engineer at
    Alpine Freshwater System Ltd.

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