The Conserve Water web site presented by Melbourne Water features hundreds of interesting facts about water and how to conserve water.
Dams & Reservoirs - Thomson, Upper Yarra, O'Shannassy, Maroondah, Sugarloaf, Yan Yean, Greenvale, Silvan, Cardinia.
Since 1939 restrictions have been applied in metropolitan Melbourne on 15 separate occasions for a total of 70 months to conserve water during drought. Drought is a natural occurrence that we must plan for and respect - we need to manage our water resources with utmost care. Hence when it comes to resource planning, we need to increasingly look for innovative ways of doing more with less.
While two thirds of all the people on earth use less than 60 litres of water a day the average Australian uses more than twice that amount during a single shower. In fact, Australians are among the biggest users of water in the world, especially around the home.
Melbourne's water supply catchments cover more than 140,000 hectares of natural forest in the Yarra Ranges, much of which is preserved for the sole purpose of harvesting water. There are 9 water storage reservoirs with a total capacity of approximately 1,773,000 ML. Research shows that Melbourne is widely regarded as having high quality drinking water. There are a number of reasons for this, the main one being the purity of the source. Many people who drink Melbourne's water have never seen these water supply catchments. That is because they are closed to the public to protect them - and the water - from human contamination.
To get that water to you, an extensive supply system links the reservoirs with the city's three retail water companies and their customers. Melbourne Water operates and maintains about 1,018 kilometres of distribution mains; 361.5 kilometres of aqueducts, siphons and tunnels; 55 service reservoirs at 36 local sites; 63 water treatment plants and 23 pump stations.
In an average year, metropolitan Melbourne consumes around 500 GL of water. This represents around 330,000 Olympic size swimming pools. That's a lot of water. If everybody in metropolitan Melbourne cut just 1% of their yearly water consumption, there would be enough water saved to fill 3,300 Olympic size swimming pools.
The building of new dams is not considered a desirable option for Melbourne for securing future water supplies due to environmental considerations, the difficulty in sourcing new catchments, and the financial costs involved. So as Melbourne grows, it is important that we find ways to ensure that Melbourne's thirst for water doesn't grow along with it.
The new approach to water resource management for Melbourne is a more holistic approach aimed at developing sustainable supply and demand management solutions incorporating innovations in technology, environment and community issues. Melbourne is in a good position because Melbourne Water manages the total water cycle - water supply catchments, stormwater system and sewage effluent disposal. This enables the development of solutions for meeting Melbourne's water requirements by considering options for maintaining supplies and consumption at manageable levels through optimizing the use of the existing water supply system, non-traditional sources of supply, wise water use and water recycling.
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