The message about Canberra’s water supply is that this is serious. Despite the enlarged Cotter Dam and a generally responsive population, the devastating long-running drought means water conservation measures are now an urgent priority for the ACT region.
Icon Water, the ACT government and Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council joined forces this week to launch the Care for Water Campaign, asking Canberrans to take personal responsibility for our water consumption for the good of the whole community.
With the water supply in the Canberra region under pressure, Icon Water has a new campaign with a strong message. Its focus? To get all of us to reduce our use of water. So what’s the current water situation? How serious is it? How can we be more vigilant about water use? Here’s Genevieve Jacobs with more about the ACT’s current water situation and how we can all take some simple measures to save water.
Posted by The RiotACT on Sunday, 1 December 2019
They were accompanied by a bunch of Canberra and district school kids from Gowrie and Kingsford Smith schools and St Gregory’s at Queanbeyan, all of whom had been working on their own water-saving ideas.
Restrictions are already a reality for Braidwood and Bungendore residents. At Braidwood, the Shoalhaven has stopped flowing and the town has 180 days of targeted use left. Stage Two restrictions are attempting to cut use by 25 per cent.
Bungendore is supplied by water from bores through fractured rocks. Locals there are on Stage One restrictions for a 10 per cent reduction target. If the current record low inflows continue, restrictions are likely in Canberra by late next year, too.
So what can you do? Plenty, the government and Icon Water suggest.
“It means thinking about the water use: limit showers to four-minutes, turn the tap off while brushing your teeth, don’t water your garden after rain, ensure that sprinklers only water between 6:00 pm and 9:00 am,” Minister Gentleman said today.
“The extension of the Cotter Dam and the Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline means that we have good water storage but our levels have gone from 84 per cent to 52 per cent in the ACT. That means we all need to think hard about taking responsibility as the summer months approach.”
Icon Water will roll out their water-saving campaign across billboards, bus shelters, on radio and via social media, aiming to get every Canberran saving water wherever possible.
Icon Water Managing Director Ray Hezkial said that while the ACT is relatively blessed with secure water supplies thanks to the community’s investment in the enlarged Cotter Dam, the water utility constantly monitors weather, usage patterns and storage capacity.
“This is a precious finite resource”, he said. “We want everyone to have a conversation with their families about how to save water. If you even turn the tap off while brushing your teeth, that will save up to 32 litres of water.
“We’ve been on permanent conservation measures in the ACT since 2010, so the common-sense rules are already in place.”
One of the major communications methods has been Icon Water’s school outreach program. Icon Water’s community engagement officer, Kate Rhook, says that local students visit the Cotter from Year Two to learn about water use and discuss how they’ll save water as part of the school curriculum.
“Some of the kids have brought us in their raindrop promises about how they’ll save water,” she said. Ideas from the students included washing hands in buckets, connecting rinse water to the garden, singing a song to time a short shower and that old favourite from the last big drought, “if it’s yellow let it mellow”.
The raindrop promises were presented to the Legislative Assembly. For more resources on how you can save water at home, go to Icon Water.
How do you save water at your home, work or school?