Wow, it has been raining! After a long dry spell, Melbourne water restrictions have been lifted and moved back to Stage 2.
The unpredictable weather Melbourne is know for has returned.
It has been raining a lot throughout the last year and the dams are around 50% full. Here is an update of the latest water storage levels.
This means that you can now use water when you want to with a watering can, bucket or trigger nozzle hose. You can use automatic watering systems between midnight and 4am, and manually water between 6am – 8am or 8pm-10pm on your specific watering days – even numbered houses on even days, odd numbers on odd days.
We can even wash our cars at home again with a bucket or pressure hose. This is still restricted, but is making life a bit easier. A domestic water target of 155 liters per person per day had been successfully introduced, and we have found that we can quite easily live with that, if you don’t need to water a garden.
Compare this with 47 liters Africa, 85 liters in Asia, 334 liters in the UK and 578 liters per capita per day in the US. An interesting fact: flushing toilets typically adds up to about 25 per cent of all water usage! Kids now learn to ‘let it mellow’ rather than flush after each small business.
We are now much more water conscious. The idyllic image of kids running through sprinklers in their suburban backyard has long gone, and water tanks are installed into new and old homes, we are building water wise gardens.
Since 2006, Melbourne’s water restrictions had been tough. Victoria and Australia had experienced one of its worst droughts on record and the water storage dams had dropped below 30%. Then there were the tragic bushfires in 2009 that brought home what living in a very dry continent can mean.
As a result of this latest water crisis, and with a rapidly growing population, Melbourne is now building a desalination plant that is going to make drinking water from sea water by 2011. This is a highly controversial solution, as it is expensive to build and operate. It will also emit tonnes of brine into the ocean, and uses a significant amount of energy in the process.
This will mean that water will become more expensive. Statistically, domestic water tanks can provide 95% of a home’s water needs. 600,000 households could be provided with tanks with just the capital cost of the plant. There is still so much rain water that could potentially be captured that is running down the drains. Furthermore, during periods of rainfall, water from the desalination plant is not even required.
This is where we are at start of spring with our Melbourne water restrictions for now.
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