News | 16th Mar, 2010

Melbourne’s water restrictions to be eased

Tuesday, 16 March 2010
ABC News

Melbourne will move to stage three water restrictions from next month.

The shift away from the harsh 3A bans, which restrict outdoor water use, will start on Good Friday.

The change means home owners will be able to water their gardens every second day.

The Premier, John Brumby, says local councils will also be allowed to water public parks more frequently.

"They're modest improvements. They're responsible, they're sustainable," he said.

Earlier, the Premier told Fairfax Radio that the easing of restrictions will be done step-by-step on advice from Melbourne Water.

"We have got so many sporting grounds, parks and gardens that have done it pretty tough over the last few years," he said.

"A top priority of these changes will be to basically get us back to, if you like, the 'Garden State' again."

Stephen Potts, from the Nursery and Garden Association, says gardeners will welcome the change.

"I think they'll be very happy to enable to have a bit more flexibility in the times they get out and water," he said.

The Premier is hopeful Melbourne will never need to return to stage 3a or stage 4 restrictions.

"So that if we get a good winter or a good spring coming up through this year, hopefully int he future we might be able to go further."

The Opposition leader, Ted Baillieu, says the Government cannot take any credit for the easing of restictions.

"These restrictions are being eased because we have more water in our reservoirs, in our dams, because it's been raining more," he said.

"That's the bottom line. It is not because of anything this Government has done."

Kelly O'Shanassy, from Environment Victoria, such Melbourne's storages are in good shape because water has begun flowing down the controversial north-south pipeline.

"We are actually taking water out of northern Victorian rivers to ease restrictions in Melbourne, which is an absolute terrible thing because those rivers in northern Victoria are very, very unhealthy," he said.