Perth councils that pay you $500 to rip it up on your verge

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Planting stages.

Planting stages.

Nine months later, it’s looking good.

“I went for hardy, and flowering, so it’s very bright at the moment, but mostly I went for bird attracting,” Ms Jones said.

“Lots of kangaroo paws, some verticordia, eremophilas, native grasses, blue scaevola, grevilleas.

“The birds came – and there are bees as well. I’m standing in it now and I can see bees on the scaevola. There’s a gravel path through it and I love seeing schoolchildren trip through it on their way to school and I get a lot of comments. It can really change a feel of a street to get nice-looking verges. And it doesn’t take much to look after, you just have to do a little clipping to make sure the plants don’t get too high.”

The verge now.

The verge now.

Residents of Mandurah, Vincent, Stirling and Victoria Park councils (all endorsed Waterwise councils) can apply for the Waterwise Verge Incentive Scheme for $500 (half council funded, half from the Water Corporation) to transform their verge.

The latest spring round has just opened and Perth temperatures are still planting-friendly.

Up to $10,000 is available per council each year – last year, 90 Perth households took part.

Ms Jones said $500 could go a long way on such a project.

“If you have a blank canvas and an ordinary size verge, $500 is a good amount,” she said.

“Get the cheap natives – I used Lulfitz [nursery], and get tube stock.

“They don’t look much when you buy them, but if you’re prepared to wait and you put in tube stock the plants tend to do better, and won’t get stolen before they’re established.

“If you nip the flowers and the tags off until they’re well established, that also helps avoid people nicking them.

“The plant will also do better at first because it will use its energy to support the root system not the flowers.

Water Minister Dave Kelly, Town of Victoria Park Deputy Mayor Vicki Potter and Edwina Jones.

Water Minister Dave Kelly, Town of Victoria Park Deputy Mayor Vicki Potter and Edwina Jones.

“So it might not be the most exciting looking plant for a while but you’ll end up better off – my kangaroo paws are over six feet now.”

For more information, visit the Water Corporation website.

Water Minister Dave Kelly said climate change was continuing to impact our water supplies in Perth and we need to continue to evolve our communities.

“I congratulate the cities of Mandurah, Vincent and Stirling and the Town of Victoria Park for their work to help households establish waterwise verges,” he said.

“I encourage other eligible councils to take advantage.

“More than 40 per cent of household water use in Perth occurs outside the home.

“Establishing native plants also adds to the liveability of our communities by adding visual appeal and creating habitats for local wildlife – all while having a cooling effect on our streets.”

Perth used 5 billion litres more water than forecast for the July-October period despite a relatively wet winter.

Since July 1 we have used 68 billion litres of water, enough to fill up Optus Stadium five times.

WA landmarks were lit blue for National Water Week last week.

WA landmarks were lit blue for National Water Week last week.

Climate change has reduced rainfall in the south-west of WA significantly, with about 80 per cent less water running into Perth dams than there was 40 years ago.

Almost half of Perth’s water is now manufactured through seawater desalination and groundwater replenishment – sources independent of rainfall.

The rest of Perth’s water supply comes from groundwater, with just a small percentage from rainfall in our dams.

Finding ways to save water will defer the need for a new water source, so households are being asked to reduce use this spring.

What you can do

  1. Choose waterwise plants for your garden. More than 40 per cent of Perth household water is used outside.
  2. Swap to a water efficient showerhead and save up to 20,000 litres annually.
  3. Do not use the dishwasher until it’s full. A four-star dishwasher uses about 15 litres compared to a standard 22-litre capacity kitchen sink.
  4. Check your home for leaks. It is estimated up to 700 million buckets of water are lost through household leaks in Perth each year.
  5. Brush your teeth with the tap off. A running tap wastes up to 10 litres per minute.

Emma Young is a Fairfax Media journalist based in Western Australia, breaking news with a focus on science and environment, health and social justice.

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