Waterwise kitchen tap
$26M allocated to program boosting water efficiency in WA public housing. Image – Canva
  • WA Waterwise Public Housing program receives $26M boost
  • Will fit a further 10,000 public houses with water efficient fixtures, slashing tenants' bills
  • Shelter WA embraces "great result" of pilot program

A further $26 million has been committed to expanding the Waterwise Public Housing Project to reduce water usage and expenses for those living in Western Australian public housing.

The McGowan government has agreed to extending the program, managed by the Water Corporation and the Department of Communities, for another five years.

Water Minister Dave Kelly said the program supports the state government’s commitment to public housing tenants that water bills should not be increased by inefficient fixtures.

Program commitments

The program expansion aims to fit approximately 10,000 public housing properties with water-efficient fixtures including toilets, showerheads and taps to save a total of 4 billion litres of water.

“Significant water and cost savings have already been achieved through the program’s pilot phase, and now a further 10,000 additional tenants and families across WA stand to benefit.”

Dave Kelly, Water Minister

In addition to upgrading existing dwellings, Housing Minister John Carey said new constructions by the Department of Communities will surpass the National Construction Code’s minimum standards for water efficiency.

Dave Kelly John Carey Waterwise
John Carey and Dave Kelly announce expanded initiative. Image – Twitter

“New housing constructed or upgraded through the State Government’s Social Housing Economic Recovery Package will provide tenants with homes that use less water than standard housing, meaning lower water bills for tenants, in addition to the environmental benefits,” Mr Carey said.

At the end of the five year timeline, all public housing managed by the Department of Communities will be fitted and on average, tenants’ bills will be slashed $66 to $145 a year before concessions.

No turbulence for pilot program

The program was successfully piloted in 2019 and has since resulted in 1,000 water audits, 620 leak repairs and 735 water efficient fit-outs.

Over 210 Department of Communities housing services officers have already completed program supplied training with the Water Corporation, to increase their knowledge and skills in assisting tenants to adopt waterwise practices.

Included in the expansion, an additional 250 officers will receive the training also.

“Fundamental to this is the waterwise training provided to housing services officers which is a shining example how agencies can work collaboratively to drive meaningful change,” Mr Kelly added.

Shelter WA gives gold star

Non-profit peak organisation and affordable housing advocate, Shelter WA, has welcomed the announcement of the program expansion.

Shelter WA CEO Michelle Mackenzie labelled the expansion announcement a great result for the program, congratulating the Minister for Housing and Minister for Water.

“The pilot program saw inefficient fixtures and fittings replaced, which reduced average household water consumption and household water bills by over one quarter.

“Research consistently shows investing in water and energy efficiency programs provide one of the biggest bangs for your buck not just in terms of saving precious resources but in delivering savings to the hip pocket.”

Michelle Mackenzie, Shelter WA CEO

Ms Mackenzie also expressed her delight at the government’s commitment to ensuring future public housing constructions exceed the minimum water efficiency standards.

“We look forward to working in partnership with government on how the community housing providers can support this and other initiatives, delivering savings to tenants and to the environment,” Ms Mackenzie concluded.

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