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Melbourne Water Crisis Draws Nearer

Here is a pretty good article from the Age that helps to describe the impending water crisis facing Melbourne:

MELBOURNE’S water storages could plunge back to 28 per cent full by March next year.

Calculations by The Age show that, if weather conditions match last summer and water is consumed at a similar rate, the city’s dams will lose about 200,000 million litres between November 1 this year and March 31, 2008.

That would leave reservoirs hovering around 28 per cent and could expose them to a possible further slide by mid-year.

This year, reservoirs hit 28.4 per cent, their lowest point, in mid-June before starting a slow climb back to last week’s high of 40.2 per cent.

The grim prospect of even lower dam levels follows a spike in water consumption caused by the weekend’s 33-degree weather.

Melbourne Water spokesman Ben Pratt said the 1209 million litres of water consumed on Sunday was above the daily average for spring.

It was also well above the daily average consumption of recent weeks — between 980 million litres and 1001 million litres.

Mr Pratt said the 201,000 million litres consumed over the five months between November 2006 and March this year involved a period with fewer water restrictions.

“Any comparison with last year’s figures must take into account that we are now on much tougher water restrictions,” Mr Pratt said.

We had a great summer in regards to rain fall here, but this spring has been a real let down with little rain and as the graph shows it appears that by the end of the summer Melbourne is going to almost run out of water.  It is amazing to me that one of the world’s biggest cities Melbourne with a population of over 3.5 million people could run out of water.

Lake Eildon catchment area.

What is more amazing to me is how hardly anyone seems to concerned about it.  The Victorian government announced a plan to build a water desalanization plant and land owners and environmentalists have been protesting and delaying it.  A pipeline to redistribute water from farming regions to Melbourne has been met with vigorous protests from farmers which led to the Victorian premier being locked in a shed by an angry mob.  Any suggestions to build new dams is instantly attacked by environmentalists.  So while no one can make a decision on how to combat the water crisis the dams continue to drain with a Melbourne population growing at one of the highest rates in the country.

Is it any wonder why the Victorian premier quit just two months ago?