40 years in the future - Water demand projected / Model attracts worldwide interest / Distinctive water model

Our Water Supply–Demand Model continues to garner interstate and international interest, including being shortlisted in the final 12 best conference papers at OzWater ’19, Australia’s international water conference and exhibition.

The model is unique in that it provides projections of future water demand and availability for all water resources across an entire state jurisdiction. It indicates where in Western Australia the sustainable use of groundwater or surface water will not be enough to support our future population and economic growth, so we can plan ahead for alternative water supplies.

Water use in Western Australia has more than doubled in the past 30 years. During this time, groundwater has replaced surface water as the main water source and mining has surpassed irrigated agriculture as the state’s major water user.

We use the model to project the future water demand for more than 1400 water resources across the state. It works by applying forecast economic and population growth rates to the current volume of water used from each resource by 75 different types of water user.

These growth rates are derived from equilibrium modelling of the state’s economy and population forecasts from the Western Australian Planning Commission. To calibrate the model results and identify where ‘trend-breaking’ water demand might occur, we consulted with 32 stakeholder groups representing the agriculture, mining, regional development, urban development and water services sectors, as well as local and state government agencies.

Principal Water Planner Daniel Ferguson and Water Resource Planner Amy Cowdell developed our innovative model, which projects demand 40 years into the future.

This program demonstrates how we provide relevant, transparent and credible information to create a shared understanding about our future water outlook, set strategic directions for our water resources and supplies, and collaborate with the stakeholders responsible for the state’s sustainable development.

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