Drinking water matters

Safe drinking water is essential for life. Drinking water for cities and towns in Western Australia comes from natural sources, seawater desalination and recycled water.
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Image of Harris Dam

Aerial view of Harris Dam in South West WA


The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation takes great care to identify and protect areas from where drinking water is sourced. These public drinking water source areas include the catchments of surface water sources (dams, reservoirs) and the recharge areas of groundwater sources (bores). There are more than 140 across Western Australia, and this number changes as new sources are proclaimed, and old sources are abolished.

To help ensure safe, reliable and affordable drinking water supplies, we:

  • determine the boundaries of public drinking water source areas and proclaims them under legislation
  • prepare and review drinking water source protection reports for each public drinking water source area in the state
  • adopt the Australian drinking water guidelines 'catchment to consumer', multiple-barrier, risk-based framework
  • investigate and advise on development in public drinking water source areas that pose a contamination risk to drinking water and public health
  • prepare and implement policies and strategies to achieve the maximum practical protection of drinking water sources
  • develop and promote the use of water quality guidance describing water quality protection measures
  • work with other agencies to manage recreation within public drinking water source areas
  • work with the community, industry, local and state government and water service providers to manage public drinking water sources areas
  • provide advice on the management of other drinking water sources across the state, such as Aboriginal community supplies, mine sites and private supplies
  • promote the importance of drinking water protection and educates the community.

Our powers to manage drinking water are provided through the Metropolitan Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Act 1909 and the Country Areas Water Supply Act 1947. Both acts have a set of by-laws which enable protection of drinking water sources. Government is currently working towards an amalgamated set of by-laws so there will be consistency across the state. The Country Areas Water Supply Act 1947 also contains provisions for clearing of native vegetation within salinity controlled catchments

For information about the quality of your tap water, please contact the Water Corporation.