1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Dec 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/12/2010  Final
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Water Choices
Western Australian Statistical Indicators

“Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink.”

Securing and conserving our water resources is of fundamental importance for environmental, social and economic sustainability. The average ‘wet season’ rainfall in the south west of Western Australia has declined by 10% since the mid 1970s, resulting in a 50% reduction in the stream flows into Perth dams.

In 2007-08, almost nine in ten survey respondents aged 18 years or over in Perth were concerned about water shortages. However, just over half (51%) of all adults stated that their water use had stayed the same while for 8% it had increased in the past 12 months.

Efficient Machines
A key factor in future water conservation will be the use of more water efficient appliances in households. Currently, around half of all household water use occurs within the home. A 2009 ABS study investigated the use of water efficient appliances such as shower heads, tap equipment, toilet and urinal equipment, clothes washing machines and dishwashers. Between 2006 and 2009, the proportion of dwellings in Perth with at least one dual flush toilet increased from 84% to 91% while those with at least one low flow shower head increased from 51% to 60%. The proportion of dwellings with front loading washing machines grew from 25% to 34% over the same period.

The prevalence of water saving devices in the home varied by household type. In general, households that had higher incomes, occupied separate houses or dwellings that were owned or being purchased were more likely to have water efficient fixtures and appliances in the home than other household types. For example, almost half (47%) of Perth households with an annual income greater than $110,000 per year had a front loading washing machine compared with 20% of those with an annual income of less than $25,000.

Water drop

Thirsty Lawns
Households in separate houses (over three-quarters of Perth households) were more likely to have higher water usage outside the home, with almost all of these homes (98%) containing a garden and/or lawn. In contrast, multiple dwellings (such as flats and apartments) are likely to have smaller living areas and smaller gardens and therefore generally reduced water consumption.

Although separate dwellings are more likely to use water outside the home than other dwelling types, these homes were also more likely to have access to water sources other than mains water for use on gardens and lawns. For example, those living in a separate house (31%) were much more likely to have bore access than those living in a semi-detached, terrace or townhouse (4%).

For further information see the full feature article Water Choices of Perth Households in Western Australian Statistical Indicators (cat. no. 1367.5).

Western Australian Statistical Indicators offers opportunities for in-depth analyses on economic, demographic, social or environmental topics to be undertaken on your behalf.

Suggestions for analytical articles on issues of relevance to the WA community are always welcome. Contact Sue Lee on (08) 9360 5391

Examples of recent articles include:

A View of Housing Density in Western Australia 2005-2009.
Adult Literacy in Western Australia.
Housing Finance - Subsidies for First-Home Buyers.
Preparedness for Emergencies and Household Assistance Required.