Media Releases | 23rd Nov, 2009

Call for Target 100 to protect rivers, reservoirs and lock in water savings

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Brumby Government must move rapidly towards a Target 100 policy to protect Melbourne’s reservoirs and rivers and permanently lock in water savings, Environment Victoria and the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) said today.

“The spike in daily water use during recent hot weather shows how vulnerable Melbourne’s storages are to being drained over summer,” Environment Victoria’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said.

“Despite storage levels being slightly higher than this time last year, they remain dangerously low and the rivers that feed them – the Thomson and the Yarra – are under great stress from long-term reductions in their flow.

“With climate change, these pressures on our rivers and storages look set to be the new norm unless we get serious about permanent water savings. Many people work hard to save water but 155 litres of water per person per day is just not sustainable in a dry country like Australia.

“The Brumby Government should urgently move towards a Target 100 program and massively boost support for householders to lock in these water savings by retrofitting their houses with smart water-efficient technologies.”

ATA’s Water Policy Manager Anjali Brown said Melburnians had maintained personal water use levels well under the current Target 155 for most of 2009 and, with the right support, could get even more efficient.

“ATA has collected a number of Melbourne household case studies that show how 100 litres of mains water per person per day is very achievable,” she said.

“Inefficient shower heads can release up to 20 litres of water a minute and so a 10 minute shower can use more than an entire day’s water target. A four minute shower with a low flow shower head only uses 36 litres.

“When it comes to keeping gardens alive over summer, greywater systems and rainwater tanks can play an important role. They can also reduce peak usage indoors during the warmer months.”

A recent report by Environment Victoria, ATA and other groups, Climate Safe Homes, shows that by adding an alternative water source to a home, such as a greywater system or a rainwater tank connected to toilet and laundry, a household can reduce water use by more than 40 per cent.

The report calls on the government to roll out a mass retrofit program to one million homes over the next five years and to increase incentives and rebates to improve the uptake of alternative water sources.

The water saved by using 100 litres of water per person a day instead of 155 would be 78 billion litres. This is more water than the government expects through the $750 million north-south pipeline from the Goulburn River.

For more information: See Target 100 case studies and background facts.

Find out how you can cut your water usage to 100 litres a day.

For interviews with spokespeople or case study families contact:

Sacha Myers, Environment Victoria’s media officer, on 0417 017 844 or Bojun Chiswell, ATA’s Media Manager on 0450 352 956.