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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Melbourne Continues to Dodge Stage 4

Melbourne's water supplies suffered a bit of a setback this spring, with insufficient rainfall to top-up the dwindling reservoirs and the long hot summer soon to arrive. At present, storages are at just 34% of capacity. Nevertheless, the city manages to discover new and interesting mechanisms to avoid implementing Stage 4 water restrictions, which should kick-in when storage levels reach 29.3% of capacity. As Stage 4 would mean no one could fill-up his swimming pool or water her garden (or footy field!!!), it's a safe bet the the Victoria government will continue to innovate solutions. First there was the development of "Stage 3a" restrictions - presumably something between Stage 3 and 4 - which have been in effect since April 2007. Now we have Target 155 - a voluntary bid to limit household per capita water consumption to 155 litres per day. This follows on successful bids in both Brisbane and Bendigo to curtail household water consumption (although one should not that those reductions came in conjunction with Stage 5 and Stage 4 water restrictions, respectively). So Melbourne continues to avoid bringing in Stage 4, but one must wonder whether the city would have been better off if it had pushed ahead with Stage 4 restrictions back in 2007. Hoping for rain around the corner no longer appears to be a robust management strategy, and it will still be sometime before the proposed desalination plan is up and running.

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