Melbourne Water has revealed that their water storages edged close to 80% full in September despite below-average rainfall and streamflow.

Storages started September at 76.7% full and finished the month at 78.6% – a net gain of 35 billion litres.

The 1.9% increase is below the long-term average for September and is due to below-average rainfall and streamflow at the four major catchments that harvest most of Melbourne’s water. The 90mm of rain was about 27% below the 30-year average for September.

The modest rainfall volumes restricted the amount of streamflow into the reservoirs. The 59 billion litres of streamflow was 32% below the 30-year average.

Storages have made a strong recovery from a dry first half of 2013 and were almost on par with the same time last year (80.2%).

In an average year, storages spend the first six or so months going down and then start to recover in the second half of the year, so it’s been a very typical year in that sense.

The added bonus is that storages usually continue to rise in October, and with the catchments still moist from previous months’ rain, they’re expected to continue increasing in the coming weeks.

Melbourne’s total water use (homes, business and industry) of 998 million litres a day was 3.5%, or 34 million litres a day, higher than the same period last year, which can be attributed to what, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, was a warmer-than-average September.

For more information on water storage levels see the Melbourne Water website.

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