News | 14th Mar, 2013

Water use soars after heatwave

14 March 2013
Jason Dowling, The Age

The water use records keep tumbling this year, with Melbourne recording another record in the past week.

With temperatures well into the 30s for the week, Melburnians used on average 249 litres per person per day, the highest since Melbourne Water began reporting daily per capita use in 2009.

The new figure breaks the previous record set last month of 248 litres.

Melbourne's water storages lost 12.6 billion litres in the week and the 1.1 billion litres of stream flows into the reservoirs was 68 per cent below the 30-year average for the period.

The storages decreased by 0.7 per cent in the past week.

Despite the dry summer and record water usage, Melbourne's storages are still at 74.6 per cent full compared with 64.8 per cent at the same time last year.

A water order for the desalination plant must be made by April 1 – the government ordered no water from the plant last year.

Current reservoir levels indicate the government may again not order water from the plant.

Melbourne Water is obliged to advise the government to order water from the desalination plant if storages are below 65 per cent at March 31, and if the supply would not risk a spill along the water supply system.

Water Minister Peter Walsh has also told a Department of Sustainability and Environment young leaders event one of his key goals as Water Minister was to never order water from the Wonthaggi plant, which can produce up to 150 billion litres of drinking water a year.

Mr Walsh believes water from the plant should be "supply of last resort".

Read the full article >

Sign up to our Healthy Rivers bulletin >