Growing impact of climate change on WA felt in rivers and dams, says Water Minister

Flooding at Entopia Wines.
Flooding at Entopia Wines.

WATER Minister Dave Kelly has warned of the growing impact of climate change in WA, with the impact on our rivers and dams evident.

Mr Kelly said the results for this year’s river flows showed there was no escaping the impact of climate change.

Following this year’s rainfall, Gingin Brook continued to be one of the state’s most affected areas for climate change, recording another below average year’s flow.

The Bureau of Meteorology rated the 2017 winter as the hottest on record in WA, while the overall winter rainfall average was the 11th lowest since 1990.

The Gnangara groundwater system, which is Perth’s most significant water resource, ended the year with the best levels since 2009 due to the 2016 rainfall being well distributed across the winter months, and the unusual rainfall event in February 2017 halting the decline in levels that was usually experienced in late summer and autumn.

The February event, which resulted in flood warnings for the Swan-Avon catchment, also pushed the Swan River into its best flow in many years, and the event was listed by the Bureau of Meteorology as a significant weather and climate event.

Mr Kelly said river flows were one of the best indicators for measuring the effects of reduced rainfall.

“What this year shows is there is no escaping the impact of climate change, which is not only reducing flow to our water supply dams, but to our rivers as well,” he said.

“The weather event in February this year that helped the Gnangara system and the Swan River in the short term, is again another exampled of climate change where more extreme and unusual weather events are projected.”

Mr Kelly said water was the key to economic growth in WA and the environment was dependent on it.

“The Department of Water and Environment Regulation carefully monitors rainfall levels and streamflow to manage the use of our precious water resources,” he said.

“These results are a reminder that Western Australians can’t be complacent when it comes to our water use and that we all have a role to play in securing WA’s water supplies for the future.”

MORE: Amazon officially launches in Australia

MORE: Perth stand-up paddle boarders begin their marathon paddle for charity

MORE: Alfred Cove Wave Park proponents to submit environmental assessment