Officials have revealed that more than a dozen bores are licensed to be used for water bottling across WA, as the fight to stop Coca-Cola extracting groundwater heats up in Perth Hills.

As Perth suffers through one of the driest Autumns on record and Perth Hills’ residents fight to stop Coca-Cola trucking groundwater in Roleystone, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation says there are 14 active “water bottling” licences in WA.

The total volume of water those licences allow to be extracted is 741,627 kilolitres – the equivalent of 297 Olympic pools per year.

In addition, there are also bores on land owned before the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914 came into effect.

Those bores are not monitored by any department and some are being contracted out to commercial bottling companies by “private” unnamed owners.

One of these “private” bores is in Roleystone, in the Perth Hills, where residents are fighting to stop Coca-Cola from trucking a maximum of 420,000L of groundwater away a week for bottling each week.

DWER says that bore is on “unproclaimed land” and the law does not require any licence or monitoring and responsibility for their management lies with local government.

An hour north in Gingin, Shire President Councillor Wayne Fewster says approximately 20 to 30 trucks carry 25,000 to 30,000 litres of water each day from four different DWER licenced locations.

“It’s just not fair, that they’re paying no rates but taking millions and millions of dollars a year out of the community,” he says.

Mr Fewster could not state who owns the bores in his shire.

The other “water bottling” bores across the state are in the Shires of Broome, Augusta-Margaret River, Esperance and Serpentine-Jarrahdale, according to DWER.

It is not possible to determine if any of the licenced bores outside of Gingin are being used by commercial bottling companies.

Mr Fewster says commercial use of bores is leaving residents without water.

“They’re not monitoring it and they’ve got no idea exactly how much water damage or how much water we’ve lost in all of our bores around the community,” he says.

WA Water Minister Simone McGurk said she was meeting with Coca-Cola to discuss solutions.

“I think we would all agree this doesn’t pass the pub test,” she says.

University of Western Australia hydrologist Professor Sally Thomas says Perth is seeing the impacts of a lack of water availability as the climate dries.

“If water is being taken from deeper areas, it is going to reduce the pressure in those areas, which can then cause the surface water above it to drop down,” Prof Thomas says.

“If that water table goes down, the shallow bores are going to run dry and the plants roots will no longer be able to get to wet soil near that water table,” she says.

Perth’s water table has dropped by 10m since the 1980s in some areas.