February 2020 – Why isn’t Canberra in temporary water restrictions?

February 2020 – Why isn’t Canberra in temporary water restrictions?

Along with the rest of Australia our
region is facing unprecedented weather patterns; extreme temperatures, reduced
rainfall and the impact of bushfires and although we’ve had some rain,
rainfall in 2019 was 40 percent below the long-term average and temperatures
were two point seven degrees above the long-term average. This means not only is
less water coming into our dams but on recent days of record temperatures we’re
seeing an increase in consumption as well. One way we can all help is by being
aware of the Permanent Water Conservation Measures. These have been in place in the ACT and Queanbeyan since 2010. These common-sense rules are actually
very similar to level 1 temporary restrictions in other areas. It’s really
important that Canberra and Queanbeyan residents are aware of these rules and I
encourage anyone who is unsure to visit our website to find out more. It’s also
important to share the measures with friends and family, talk about them over
coffee at work or at a barbecue or even share them on social media – we need all Canberrans to help. It’s understandable that many Canberrans are asking about temporary water restrictions, especially when some of our
neighbouring towns are already facing restrictions of their own. However water
security varies across regions with different water source. Many of
Australia’s capital cities that are also experiencing unprecedented dry
conditions are not yet in restrictions. The work that has been done over the
last decade to increase water security for the ACT, such as the enlargement of the Cotter Dam, has provided additional storage
capacity which has meant that temporary water restrictions are not yet
required. But while temporary water restrictions are not yet required we all
need to do everything we can to conserve water. The benefit of reducing usage
ahead of restrictions is that it allows each individual and their families to
make a choice about how they save water in a way that suits them. For example
many Canberrans are very proud of their gardens and imposing further
restrictions can reduce their ability to care for these spaces. They can instead
choose to reduce their use in other ways such as shorter showers. We all enjoy public green spaces which contribute to the
livability of our city and restricting usage not only at home but also to ovals
and parks can impact how we enjoy these spaces. By simply being more conscious of the ways we use water we can delay restrictions. If we all do a little bit,
it’ll add up to a lot. We take our role in managing the ACT and Queanbeyan’s water security seriously and our number one priority is to safeguard the water
supply for the ACT and surrounding region. The community places a lot of
trust in us to do this and we make all our decisions with that in mind.
Imposing temporary water restrictions is not a decision that is taken lightly.
It’s based on many factors including the amount of water we have, the time of year, consumption patterns and weather forecasts as well as what’s occurring in
the broader region. We’re closely monitoring these factors however we are
also very mindful of the need to be flexible under unprecedented climate
conditions. We won’t hesitate to bring in restrictions if and when they are
require. Water is a precious resource and we can’t be complacent. It’s really
important there were all conscious of our water usage and take action to
conserve water wherever we can. Please visit our website for tips and have a
conversation with your family on how you can save water this summer

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About the Author: John Markowski

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