Victoria Minister for Water Peter Walsh
Melbourne’s Dams Increase With Autumn Rain
Victor P Taffa
Melbourne’s dams have made a rare autumn gain as a result of above-average rainfall on already-wet catchments.
Water Minister Peter Walsh said storages started autumn at 54.2 % and finished the season at 54.5 % a net gain of 6.9 billion litres.
Melbourne’s storages are now at the highest levels for this time of year since 1999. Rainfall at the catchments that feed water into the city’s major dams was 31 % above average.
“With the catchments much damper than usual for autumn after an extremely wet summer, stream flow into the dams was more than double the average.” Mr. Walsh said.
“After months of above average rain and moderate temperatures, the catchments are now primed to make the most of winter rainfall.”
Mr. Walsh said the 0.3 % increase was an exceptional result for autumn, when storages typically dropped by an average of 5 %.
“The former Brumby Labor Government justified the Wonthaggi desalination plant and the north-south pipeline by trying to brainwash Victorians into believing it would never rain again.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The runoff we have had this autumn demonstrates that it does rain but Melbourne needs to be ready to make the most of it by increasing stormwater capture and reuse.”
Mr. Walsh said with many of the smaller dams full or filling, any notable increases in 2011 depended mainly on what happened over the Thomson Dam which accounted for two-thirds of the system’s total capacity.
“The Thomson has led the recovery since the total storage level hit a record low of 25 % in mid-2009. It has banked almost 240 billion litres in that time.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The Thomson is still under 40 % with space for 655 billion litres, so the focus will remain on letting it rest while the city is supplied by other parts of the system.”
Mr. Walsh said Melburnians had continued their water saving ways, helping to lock away valuable storage gains.
“Although the storages have risen, autumn water consumption across all uses (homes, business and industry) was 1.8 % lower, or 178 million litres less the same period in 2010.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Melburnians are to be congratulated for the fantastic efforts they continue to make to save water.” Mr. Walsh said.