Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) says it has ceased extracting water from a bore in Perth Hills, following community concerns and low aquifer levels. 

The company has reportedly conducted an independent detailed source vulnerability assessment of its Karragullen operation.

The bottling company says that the review, completed on May 15, found no significant impact from their operations on neighbouring properties. 

However, in response to community concerns, CCEP says it decided to stop extracting water until the aquifer replenishes to an appropriate level.

“Based on current and predicted rainfall, measured water table levels compared to historical fluctuations, and our sustainable water management framework, we are voluntarily ceasing water extraction at Karragullen until we see the aquifer replenishment return to an appropriate level,” a CCEP spokesperson said, according to industry media outlet JustDrinks

“We acknowledge the dry conditions the region is currently experiencing and we are committed to doing what we can to reduce our environmental impact.”

CCEP claims that the groundwater extracted in the local catchment is minor compared to other users in the same area. 

Despite this, the move to halt operations aligns with a broader initiative to address environmental sustainability and community concerns.

Western Australia’s Minister for Water, Simone McGurk, says the government is cranking up monitoring of water levels, making the data publicly accessible and providing transparency about how many companies are extracting water and at what levels.

The CCEP has reportedly been undertaking its own monitoring and is starting to share data with the government. 

CCEP has been extracting water from the Karragullen site since acquiring it in 2020, primarily for its Neverfail branded water. 

The company operates under an agreement with the City of Armadale, which permits a specific volume of water extraction.

Experts say current regulations allow landholders to extract as much groundwater as they like without a licence in unproclaimed areas, which includes the Perth Hills. There are calls for a new licensing system that would set limits and require measurement of water extraction.

McGurk has indicated that future legislation might require all water users, including commercial bottlers and farmers, to pay for the water they extract.