Water needs a priority

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
The Dunsborough Lakes dam in its former glory
Camera IconThe Dunsborough Lakes dam in its former glory Credit: supplied

Huge growth in the Dunsborough real estate market has highlighted concerns over the future water supply to the town.

Dunsborough has become one of the most sought-after property markets in Australia, viewed as a “safe haven” by interstate and international investors.

Record sales of land titles and existing homes has driven local workers out of rentals with barely any properties available for long-term tenancies.

South West agency Stocker Preston recorded its biggest volume of sales for one month in its 50-year history with sales up 145 per cent compared to June last year.

Despite being surrounded by water, the town has no natural water supply and developer Urban Quarter recently filled in a dam in Dunsborough Lakes to make way for future development.

A masterplan for the coastal town includes an estimated population increase from 9000 residents to 21,000 before 2030 and several Dunsborough locals this week contacted the Times describing water supply to the increasing population as a “big issue”.

Urban Quarter senior development manager David Barham said the developer had been working with the Dunsborough Lakes Golf Club, the City of Busselton and other stakeholders to find a solution for water supply in Dunsborough.

“Urban Quarter recently transferred 40,000KL of its development water licence to the golf club at no cost to ensure their long-term sustainability,” he said.

“The dam was a temporary solution and the land has been zoned for development for a long period of time.”

The Dunsborough Lakes dam was filled in a few weeks ago
Camera IconThe Dunsborough Lakes dam was filled in a few weeks ago Credit: supplied

City of Busselton manager of development and planning services Paul Needham said the land where the dam was located had been identified for future residential development for more than a decade.

“Acquisition of the land where the dam is located would have cost more and delivered substantially less water than the non-potable water solution that the City is progressing,” he said.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation said the City had chosen to extract water from the Sue Coal Measures Aquifer east of Dunsborough for non-potable water.

In March, the City lodged applications to take 528 megalitres a year from the aquifer.

“The City was granted the 26D permit in June 2020 to construct a test bore and monitoring bores, and carry out groundwater investigations, including test pumping the aquifer,” it said.

Water Corporation South West regional manager John Janssen said drinking water would be supplied by surrounding bores and bought from Busselton Water.

“Infrastructure was developed to enable bulk water transfer from Busselton Water in 2011,and is anticipated to meet demand until well beyond 2030,” he said.

A community meeting to discuss development issues in Dunsborough has been scheduled for September 23 at Dunsborough Country Club.

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