Melbourne’s water storages have been replenished with water from Victoria’s Desalination Plant, securing the city’s supply and helping to avoid strict restrictions.

Victorian Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, said the largest ever order of 125GL would start to reach Cardinia Reservoir from 11 June 2019 and be delivered progressively over the following year.

“Water is now flowing into our storages from the desal plant, building a buffer against the challenges of climate change and increased demand from population growth,” Ms Neville said.

“Combining desalinated water with water efficiency measures, while investing in recycled water and stormwater harvesting, all helps to secure Melbourne’s water supply for the future.

“The water order underpins water security for Melbourne and surrounding regions – meaning certainty for families, businesses, sporting grounds and local communities.”

This additional water will contribute 6.9 per cent to Melbourne’s storages – which would be a further 4.2 per cent lower without the desalinated water delivered over recent years.

Even with recent rainfall, Melbourne’s water storage levels currently sit at 49.8 per cent, 8.3 per cent lower than the same time in 2018 and close to the lowest level since 2011.

The current low levels are a result of below average inflows into Melbourne storages in 18 out of the past 20 years, combined with higher than normal temperatures and huge population growth of 1.4 million in Melbourne since 2001.

Given Melbourne’s water demand has outstripped supply in recent years – it shows why the desalinated water order is crucial to providing water certainty. Only metropolitan Melbourne customers pay for the desalination order and this cost is subsidised as much as possible.

Eliza Booth

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