According to Water Minister David Kelly, Western Australians may be thinking they are free to use as much water as they like due to the increased water sources such as desalination and treated wastewater plants. This is why the WA Water Corporation is set to launch an advertising campaign aimed at water guzzlers, to remind us all that water is just as precious as ever.
The Water Corporation has started an autumn advertising blitz amid concerns West Australian consumers will become complacent with their water use.
The utility will spend $350,000 on its campaign this season, after spending $220,000 over summer.
Advertising will target social media and radio audiences, particularly on long weekends and public holidays when people are more likely to use more water on DIY projects.
The Water Corporation said a four-minute song performed by a collective of WA artists, reminding consumers about the length of their showers, has already been a success.
It said 700,000 people had already listened to the tune, which targets a 16 to 35-year-old demographic.
Other advertising has been aimed at an older demographic interested in home maintenance, making water-wise offers through major retailers.
The campaign comes on the back of two wetter and cooler than usual summers for Perth and the state’s South West region.
Water Minister Dave Kelly said the unseasonable weather made spreading a water-wise message particularly important.
“We’ve had a cooler summer and complacency is always an issue,” Mr Kelly said.
“We have to constantly remind people that water for Western Australia is still an issue, and as climate change gets worse, it will continue to be an issue.”
Mr Kelly said there was also an attitude that now that Perth had alternative water sources — such as desalination and treated wastewater — people were free to use as much water as they liked.
The four seasons and climate change
Mr Kelly said the autumn period was a good time for the Water Corporation to target people’s behaviour rather than during the summer and winter months.
“We have very hot summers, and people will use what they think they need in the home and the garden. It’s very hard to shift that,” he said.
“In winter, there’s a sprinkler ban in place and that brings people’s water consumption down.
“It’s actually in spring, or in autumn, the two shoulder periods … [when] people’s water use is most variable.”
Mr Kelly said climate change would continue to affect the amount of water that was available to Perth and the region in years to come.
“Perth, and the south-west of Australia, is one of the places in the planet most being impacted upon by climate change,” he said.
“We’re just not getting the rain in the South West that we used to.
“When I was a kid in the 70s, we used to get about 300 billion litres of water run into our dams each year through rainfall, and that was basically Perth’s water supply.
“Now, if we get 25 billion litres in a winter, we think we’ve done well.”
Mr Kelly said he did not think Perth would ever reach a stage where water was not a resource that had to be managed wisely.