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Melbourne has 9 months of water left

published, Jun 26, 2009 12:57am
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It seems that these problems may get a fair bit worse with the city facing the prospect of running out of water by the end of Summer 2010.

Steve Hopkings, @stevehopkins rocked my morning at #socialmelb when he let me in on a little secret. Melbourne has 9 months of water left before it just runs out. So go buy a tank, and fill it up now - is his sage advice.

It's no secret that the city where I live has been experiencing a few water problems of late. For as long as I can recall we've been experiencing drought - likely brought on by climate change, you can see for yourself from Melbourne water's excellent graphs.  The "spin doctors" won't say it, but the trend doesn't look too good - so see for yourself.  We should all really be praying for rain, hoping that we get a little off the back of what Queensland and New South Wales have been enjoying of late.

Steve explained it like this. "Think of our storages as like a bath, with a plug hole at the bottom. Except our bath has it's plug hole raised some way above the actual bottom, at the top of a large pipe. Right now the major dam, the Thompson dam (our big one) is at 16.3%. when the level drops below about 11% that's it. The water stops flowing." ...and then the fun begins.

According to Steve this news was released a few days ago, however it seems to have "missed" the media boat, as we are distraced by other mundane things like "utegate".

They say it's always good to live in interesting times, and I can certainly appreciate this when faced with living in a city without water. I am sure if Melbourne does run out of water it will set a precedent, unlike none the developed world has ever seen.

So please, cut back on those Hollywood showers, please try save water. And please try and share this news - it's really quite important.


image courtesy of flickr


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Hey Sam,

Good write up. Yeah, it's never a fun idea to think about but I think you captured the issue pretty well. Some may scream and shout "there is no proof" or even proclaim we got it wrong if we get to the 9 month point and still have water. The next 3 months will tell - if we get a good rain over Spring (and it falls in the right areas) then things should be ok. Desal looks like being 18-30 months away from being online, which promises to restore our water supply pretty quickly (with its own issues, I might add).

Regardless, it's time we all realised just how close we are to being without it and perhaps began considering just how fragile our society is on a larger scale.

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