Call for creative solutions to Denmark water crisis
A $32 million water pipeline from Albany to Denmark should not be the only measure put in place to fix the town’s water shortage, Denmark Chamber of Commerce chief executive Liz Jack says.
Water Minister Dave Kelly said on Sunday Denmark could run out of water within a year — a statement that came as no shock to Ms Jack and other locals.
“There was a CSIRO report in 2014 which indicated that the South West corner of WA was drying at a rapid pace compared to other parts of Australia,” she said.
“This shouldn’t come as a shock, but it should identify that as a community we need to come together in our own resilience and make sure the system in Denmark supports itself.”
Ms Jack said the local government could help out by simplifying the approvals process for residents looking to install a water tank on their property.
“The Department of Water have announced a water tank rebate which is fantastic, but we need local government to make sure that it is easy for people to install a water tank,” she said.
“And at the State Government level — where is the legislation or process that requires new house to have water tank?”
Because of changing rainfall and weather patterns, Denmark’s main water supply from the Quickup Dam is at a record low.
Water Corporation Great Southern regional manager Adrian Stewart visited the dam on Tuesday to show the Advertiser how dire the situation was.
“Normally you expect the water at the dam to go all the way up to the tree line, but currently there is over half of the volume of the dam that is no longer here,” he said.
Due to historically low rainfall in recent years, the Quickup Dam has been drying at a rapid rate.
Mr Stewart said the Water Corporation had also decided not to artificially open the Wilson Inlet this year.
“We’re only going to open the inlet when the water reaches a certain level,” he said.
“This year we’re not going to get anywhere near that level at this stage.”
“When we look back at the last three occasions when we haven’t opened the sandbar, it goes back between 15 or so years.
“There’s only been three times when it has not happened in the past, and this year the water level in the Wilson Inlet is its lowest compared to those other times.”
Ms Jack said the water shortage represented an opportunity for the community to work together together and come up with creative solutions.
“The business community and local groups in Denmark need to be invited and to be a part of the conversation to fix the water issue in town,” she said.
“What the water issue has highlighted is that as a community we are quite vulnerable.”
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