The critical link between emissions reduction and water supply has been confirmed by new research partly funded by the Victorian Government.
Scientists from the University of Melbourne and Australian National University have modelled changes in average rainfall and temperature to estimate the risk of water shortages in Melbourne as the climate warms.
It found that if global warming increases from 1.5°C to 2.0°C, inflows into major dams are likely to reduce, leading to increased pressure on water supplies. The findings are in line with previously published studies.
Desalination plants, stormwater capture, water recycling and improved efficiency are all viable options to help respond to these challenges.
The Victorian water sector is committed to a 42 per cent reduction on 2011-2016 baseline emissions by 2025, and net-zero emissions by 2050. Melbourne’s four metropolitan water corporations are exploring how they can be net-zero by 2030, 20 years ahead of the 2050 target.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is working with water corporations to achieve these targets by improving energy efficiency, generating renewable energy, electrifying their vehicle fleets, and converting sewage and other waste products into energy.
DELWP is continuing to investigate the impact of climate on water through the Victorian Water and Climate Initiative. It also supports the water sector to invest in adaptation actions through the implementation of the Water Sector Adaptation Action Plan.