Innovative dam covers to save valuable water

08 February 2024

A $2.8 million project to pilot innovative floating dam covers in Western Australia will help save water through minimising evaporation.

The covers are made in Melbourne from 100% recycled plastic and have been installed over 3 dams in the Great Southern region:

  • Ravensthorpe
  • Salmon Gums
  • Lake King.

The covers are protecting water used for drinking supplies for communities in the area. Installation means protection for water in a region where annual rainfall has declined by around 20% since the 1970s. Communities who rely on these dams have needed to cart water in due to limited water security.

During an initial pilot, covers reduced evaporation by 73% which equates to a saving of more than 1.6 million litres of drinking water. The trial was conducted by University of Western Australia researchers at Wellstead, 90km east of Albany.

The effectiveness of the covers will be studied further over the next 19 months at each location. Based on initial trial results it is expected that there will be up to 700 fewer truck movements needed annually as a result of this extended trial.

About the HexaCovers

HexaCovers are hexagonal plastic discs that float on the water and fit together to cover up to 99% of a dam’s surface area. The coverage will depend on water levels in the dam at any given time. HexaCovers are made of 100% recycled plastic, and:

  • are weighted and designed in a modular formation to prevent displacement by wind
  • are manufactured in Melbourne using a Danish prototype
  • measure 23 cm across each disk and weigh 243 grams.
The HexaCovers are made from 100% recycled plastic and float on the water to help minimise evaporation. Image credit: Water Corporation.

The HexaCovers are made from 100% recycled plastic and float on the water to help minimise evaporation. Image credit: Water Corporation.

Project delivery and funding

The project was delivered by Water Corporation, with majority Aboriginal-owned construction company, Benang, installing the covers. Water Corporation will continue to test and monitor water quality and water levels throughout the trial period.

This project is funded through the $43.8 million Western Australia Connections package. The package includes 8 other projects to support water security in regional Australia.

Learn more about the Western Australian Connections package of work.