Waterwise Garden Bore Use

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Almost half of scheme water is used on gardens. Currently the figure is 44%.To reduce this usage, alternative water supply options should be explored and implemented where possible.

Waterwise garden bore use

Shallow groundwater is relatively accessible in Perth and its use on gardens reduces the demand on valuable potable water. Irrigation with bore water is always preferred over the use of scheme water. Activities removing large volumes of groundwater require an abstraction licence but household bores in the metropolitan area do not usually require
a licence. The number of bores in an area depends on:

  • Depth to the water table.
  • Difficulty of access – areas closer to the coast have fewer bores due to the cost of drilling into limestone and the risk of saline intrusion.
  • Chance of success – bores are fewer in some eastern suburbs in areas of clay or granite where bore yields are
    generally lower.

Although groundwater may be readily available, it should still be considered a precious resource. Excessive use can result in groundwater draw-down where over pumping can lower the water table to undesirable levels in some areas and be detrimental to the environment. Care should be taken near sensitive environments such as wetlands.

Excessive clearing

In some areas where there has been excessive clearing of natural vegetation and a rise in the water table, bores can be beneficial in preventing further ground level rises and minimizing the need for drainage.

Encourage efficient bore use among consumers by recommending a waterwise irrigation system which only waters enough
to meet the garden’s needs. Overuse of a bore can result in groundwater draw-down, nutrient loss and saltwater intrusion.

To assess suitability for a garden bore in the metro area refer to the Dept. of Water’s ‘Perth Groundwater Atlas’ at

Irrigation methods

Bore water can be applied either via sprinkler systems or drip irrigation. When considering the use of bore-water for any drip irrigation system it is always recommended that an analysis is made of a water sample from the bore prior to installation of such a system. Bore water in many areas of the south-west of WA contain concentrations of dissolved
iron which, when oxidised, can clog drip emitters over time.

Manufacturers do not recommend the use of drip irrigation where the levels of dissolved iron exceed 0.5 parts per million. Some high output drippers, however, may be used with higher levels than this – refer to manufacturers for their recommendations. Periodic maintenance will be required – cleaning filters and flushing driplines.

Garden bore use

Garden Bore users in Perth and Mandurah are permitted to water between 6pm and 9am on three days of the week depending on the last digit of the house or lot number.

Winter sprinkler bans currently apply to bore users in Perth, Mandurah and some parts of the south west.
See www.watercorporation.com.au for current information.