Water storages reach 26-year high
Melbourne’s Water Outlook 2023 shows water storage levels are over 98% full, the highest since 1996.
The current high storage levels are due to a combination of high rainfall and inflows into catchments over the last three years, driven by a third straight La Nina year.
The Bureau of Meteorology outlooks show above-average rainfall and warmer weather is likely for Melbourne over the coming months with a third consecutive La Niña year established. A triple occurrence of La Niña has only been recorded twice since 1900.
Continued efficient use of water in homes and businesses together with the Victorian Desalination Project have also helped improve our water security.
The Water Outlook is an annual collaboration between Melbourne Water, Greater Western Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water. The corporations come together to assess current water use and demand and project any potential impacts to Greater Melbourne’s water supplies for the coming year.
Water storages are sitting at over 98%, up nearly 10% from last year and are projected to remain high for the year ahead unless dry conditions return. This means that although water restrictions are not expected for Greater Melbourne over the next 12 months, permanent water savings rules will continue to apply in 2023.
Speaking on behalf of Melbourne’s water corporations, Greater Western Water’s Managing Director, Maree Lang, said that even with high storages Melburnians still need to stay water wise and continue to use water responsibly to secure Greater Melbourne’s future water supplies.
“While our storages continue to remain high, we can’t take water storage levels for granted. The amount of water we have available can vary depending on a range of factors including customer water use, climate conditions and population growth.”
Consistent with the shift to working from home, the Water Outlook also showed that Melbourne’s residential water use increased from last year’s estimate of 160 litres per person per day, to an average of 164 litres. A new target for residential customers of 150 litres per person per day has been set by the Victorian Government.
Ms Lang said, “setting a lower target helps keep our water supplies secure in the face of long-term warming and drying conditions and population growth while ensuring Melburnians are only using what they need.
“By planning now for new water supplies and continuing to strive for efficient water use, we will be better prepared for the future.”
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