Storages rise, consumption remains low in 2010

Media release issued Wednesday 12 January 2011  


Water use in greater Geelong continued to decrease in 2010 despite an easing of restrictions and a major boost to storage levels.

The region used 26,342 million litres in 2010, down on the previous year when 26,800 million litres was consumed.

It was the lowest consumption since 2007 when 25,624 million litres was used under Stage 4 restrictions.

Barwon Water Acting General Manager Water Systems David Barkley said the region's water use peaked in 1981/1982 at 40,000 million litres.

"Overall demand has not increased since the early 1980s despite population growth from 140,000 in 1980 to more than 280,000 today," Mr Barkley said.

"Significant savings have been achieved through conservation initiatives across residential and non-residential sectors, including education and awareness programs, water audits and the introduction of water-efficient appliances.

"We are seeing a marked change in behaviour where people today have a greater appreciation of water as a valuable resource," he added.

The region's reservoirs gained almost 34,800 million litres during 2010 due to above average rainfall, run-off and low water consumption.

Storage levels increased from 35.6 per cent at end of December, 2009, to 73.2 per cent at the end of 2010. Last time storages were at this level was in November, 2002.

West Barwon catchment received its highest annual rainfall since 2001, with 1208 mm recorded for the year. This was 5.4 per cent above the long term average.

Korweinguboora catchment received its highest annual rainfall since 1996 with 1055 mm — 21.7 per cent above average.

Meanwhile, the current rain falling across the region is not expected to significantly increase storage levels.

About 70 mm has fallen in the catchments since Monday. However, dry ground conditions mean there has been little run-off.

Mr Barkley said the good news was the wet weather had decreased consumption considerably and storage levels were holding steady at a time when they would normally be declining.

Storages are currently at 72 per cent.