Landscape North West

Western Australia's north is one of the world's last great wilderness areas with fewer people per square kilometre than almost anywhere else on our planet. If you are lucky enough to call the north of WA home, you will know why it is often referred to as an ancient land with unique Australian culture, wild rivers, deep gorges, and sprawling red and blue colours that makeup the landscape.

Unlike our South West, in recent decades an increase in the total rainfall has been observed in some parts of our northern state, including the Canning Basin and West Pilbara. The increase in rainfall has resulted in more rainfall runoff recharging our catchments in some lucky parts. However, this trend doesn’t apply to all the areas across the North West and is highly inconsistent with many towns also experiencing extended periods of little to no rain.

In general, the rainfall residents in the Pilbara and Kimberly regions rely on has always been highly variable. This is in part because the Northern WA coastline lies within the most tropical cyclone-prone region of the Australian coast (Broome to Exmouth). Historically an average of two cyclones has crossed this stretch of coastline each year. However future climate predictions indicate cyclones will be less frequent (by as much as 50% by 2090) but, much more intense.

These tropical cyclones bring heavy rainfall with them and make for extremely valuable contribution to our surface and groundwater supplies; however, their predicted variability means we cannot solely rely on the water sources they recharge. The future forecasts indicate that the intervals between rainfall events will become increasingly variable across the northern regions, over the century.

While we will likely see fewer cyclones, or possibly a later start to the cyclone season, a predicted increase in their intensity will create its own concerns, in particular the damage it may have on our water infrastructure. In response, we are continuously working to ensure our infrastructure is capable of withstanding these extreme events.

Did you know?

Close to 58% of treated wastewater is recycled in the North West. It is used for a range of purposes such as irrigating the Derby and South Headland golf courses, and Karratha and Wickham public open spaces.

Wastewater recycling plays a vital role in supporting ongoing economic activity and population growth, and we’re committed to further exploring recycling opportunities in the region.

Water saving programs

Given the high temperatures of the North West we continue to work with communities and businesses on a range of programs to reduce water use in the area. These include:

  • Waterwise Business Program – business customers who use more than 20,000kL of water annually are required to develop a plan to manage their water efficiency and report on their progress annually.
  • Waterwise Towns Program – we work with a small number of towns each year, providing services and offers to help customers reduce their water use. In 2020-21, seven Pilbara and Kimberley communities, including Broome, Karratha, Derby and Onslow will have access to special water saving offers.
  • Waterwise Councils Program – we support local governments to improve water efficiency and help create waterwise communities.

Find out more about sustainable water initiatives and programs in the North West.

We can all help

We can all take action on climate change and reduce our water use. Find out what you can do to save water starting today.