Melbourne’s water storages have edged past 80% full in October due to above-average rainfall and reduced water usage.

Storages started October at 78.6% full and ended the month at 80.1%. The 1.5% increase represents a net gain of 27 billion litres, which is close to a month’s water supply for Melbourne.

The four major catchments that harvest most of Melbourne’s water received an average of 118mm of rain in October, which was 13% above the 30-year average for the month.

The volume of water that flowed from the catchments into the reservoirs (streamflow) as a result of this rain was below average, a legacy of a drier-than-average September. The 55.6 billion litres of streamflow was 10.5% below the 30-year average.

Storages have so far had a successful 2013 ‘filling season’, the time of year – typically winter and spring – when storages make their biggest increases.

Storages often continue increasing in November, so levels could creep higher ahead of the warmer, drier months of summer when they usually start declining.

Melburnians have helped lock in the October storage gains by using less water than the same time last year. Melbourne’s total water use (homes, business and industry) of 1009 million litres a day was 0.6%, or 6 million litres a day, lower than the same period last year.

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