Water catchments are one source of Perth’s current drinking water supply. They also encompass the major portion of forested areas close to Perth and affect access for many traditional bushwalking areas. DWER’s “Operational Policy 13” is intended to protect drinking water quality and public health by managing recreation in public drinking water source areas on Crown land.
HikeWest has advocated strongly over many years on the various water catchment access issues. In 2007, the regulator planned to ban all traditional off-track bushwalking in the catchments; Such a ban if implemented would have had a devastating impact on the activities of several of our Member Clubs and other bushwalkers in the Perth region. Thanks to the sustained lobbying of HikeWest and others, off-track walking is today officially recognised as a legitimate recreational activity within the outer catchments.
The impacts of the latest (June 2019) version of Policy 13 on bushwalking in the water catchments within 100km of Perth include:
Reservoir Protection Zones (‘RPZs’)
Outer catchment restrictions
No events without prior approval
Trails development restrictions
Lack of alternative areas for bushwalking growth in the Perth region
Various HikeWest historic papers/submissions on water catchment issues:
- Draft updated Operational Policy 13: Recreation within public drinking water source areas on Crown land – HikeWest submission to DWER, July 2018.
- Bushwalking Access in Drinking Water Catchments – Summary archived from old HikeWest website, ca. 2013.
- Reservoir Protection Zones, Standing Committee on Public Administration – Recreation Activities within Public Drinking Water Source Areas, submission, May 2010.
- Inquiry into Recreation Activities within Public Drinking Water Source Areas – Submission to the Standing Committee on Public Administration, Nov. 2009.
- “Operational Policy 13: Recreation within public drinking water source areas on Crown land”, DWER, June 2019
- “Water catchments” – page on WalkGPS website