Melbourne’s Water Outlook 2021 reports that water storage levels are secure for the next 12 months, but growing challenges mean we all have a part to play in protecting future supplies. 

Melbourne’s water storages are well placed heading into the summer after a year of higher than average rainfall and the contribution from the desalination plant. This means storage levels are at their highest since early 2015 and over 75 per cent full. 

Speaking on behalf of Melbourne’s water corporations, Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said that a resilient and flexible approach is important to safeguard and manage water supplies. “The impact of climate change means we face challenges like greater weather variability, extended drought and dry conditions.

“We know from our experience with the Millennium Drought that these conditions can mean water storages fall quickly. So, it’s important we use water wisely and continue to increase storages with contributions from the desalination plant, which helps us meet our water demand,” Mr McCafferty said.

Melbourne’s storages would be more than 14 per cent lower without the contribution of the desalination plant to build supplies over recent years. Since 2017, the plant has added more than 260 billion litres of desalinated water to our water supply. 

The Water Outlook also shows that Melburnians have reduced household water use over the last year to an average of 157 litres per person per day. That is 5 litres lower than last year and the lowest water usage since 2011.

In line with the Victorian Government’s Target 155 campaign, Melburnians continue to use water wisely.

While many people’s water usage habits have changed with working and schooling from home this year as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), Melburnians are still being conscious of the water they use.

Pat McCafferty said “Melburnians have developed some great water saving habits and every drop counts when it comes to saving water. Taking actions like shaving a minute off your shower, washing full loads of clothes, fixing leaking taps, and going easy with your garden hose, make a real difference.

The Water Outlook reports that permanent water use rules will continue to apply in 2021. These common-sense rules help ensure Victorians use water more efficiently and encourage everyone to value our precious resource for the long term.

Melbourne’s Water Outlook 2021 is a collaboration between City West Water, Melbourne Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water. The organisations come together to assess and predict impacts to the city’s water storages for the coming year and continue to secure water supplies.

To view the report, please visit our Reports, strategies and plans page. 

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