The latest report on Victoria’s water finds that while our supplies are in a good position, there are signs of ongoing strain – with dry conditions and increasing population growth continuing to put pressure on our water security.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville said that recent rainfall meant water storages are slightly higher than this time last year, but it was important to remain vigilant about water efficiency to protect our supplies into the future.
The 2019 Victorian Annual Water Outlook report shows Melbourne’s storages are sitting at 63.9 per cent, compared to 63 per cent last year – meaning the city will not face water restrictions this summer.
Parts of Victoria continue to face tough conditions and some regional towns in north-west and central parts of the State are already on low-level water restrictions. More towns could follow in the north-east and Gippsland if dry conditions continue, which is expected when managing a dry climate.
Euroa and Violet Town are on Stage 2 restrictions and all towns in the Lower Murray region, including Mildura, Swan Hill and Kerang went on to Stage 1 restrictions last month.
Stage 2 water restrictions are expected for the Mitchell River in mid-January, including Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance. Under a dry climate scenario, Stage 1 or 2 water restrictions are likely for Brigalong and Buchan in Gippsland during summer.
Permanent Water Savings Rules are in place all year round across the state and Victorians can all play an important part in conserving water by being water wise at home and at work.
The ongoing challenges of a changing climate and population growth means Victoria needs to keep invest in alternative sources of water, such as the Victorian Desalination Plant, recycled water and stormwater harvesting.
Without the desalination plant, Melbourne’s storages would be eight per cent lower and we would be facing conditions not seen since the millennium drought.
As noted by Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“Thanks to some recent rainfall, Melbourne’s water supplies are in a good position leading into summer – but levels are still quite low and we know some regional towns are doing it tough with water restrictions.”
“As our climate continues to get drier and our population expands, we all have to do our part to help save water in our homes and businesses – boosting local supplies.”
“Water efficiency is just one of the measures we use to secure water for our future – we will also use the desalination plant when needed, increase our use of recycled and storm water, and modernise our irrigation system to stop leaks.”