Melbourne lauded for lowest water use since ’83

By Sofia Levin

THE lowest water usage in nearly 30 years helped push Melbourne’s water storages above 50 per cent last year, the state government says.

Yarra Valley Water managing director Tony Kelly said households, business and industry used 346 billion litres of water in 2010 – the lowest consumption since 1983.

“Melburnians are to be congratulated for their water-saving efforts, with 2010 water use 3.6 per cent, or 36 million litres a day, lower than 2009,” he said.

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A Yarra Valley Water spokesman said Melburnians’ water-saving behaviour had continued following the water restrictions of the past few years.

”Because people have been limited in their water use they have started to think outside the square; replanting gardens, redoing landscaping and installing rain tanks,” she said.

The city’s dams gained close to 300 billion litres last year, with levels rising from 37.5 per cent earlier in the year to 53.7 per cent in December.

The main catchments recorded the highest annual rainfall since 1996, with the Thomson Dam banking over 160 billion litres, accounting for more than half of the yearly gain.

But Melbourne Water’s water supply manager John Woodland warned that despite storage levels back to those of 2006, celebration might be premature.

”The Thomson is only just above three-quarters full. We have to focus on recovering storage … We still have a long way to go,” he said.

The severe weather warning for today and a forecast of rain until Saturday may bring more water still.