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Now is the time to save water

Karyn Starmer 22 November 2019 41
Hose with a trigger

Use hoses with a trigger to save water. Photos: Supplied.

With a long hot summer on the way, continuing dry conditions and the memory of the millennium drought still fresh for many, it’s understandable that Canberrans are asking about water restrictions. The territory’s four dams are currently just over 50 per cent full but Icon Water General Manager Davina McCormick says Canberra’s water supply is still secure, for now.

“We have more water now than in the millennium drought. Enlarging the Cotter Dam in 2013 meant that our total capacity is now about 35 per cent bigger. More capacity, combined with permanent water conservation measures, put us in a good position to withstand prolonged dry periods. We would be in water restrictions now if it wasn’t for that investment,” McCormick said.

The ACT has had permanent water conservation measures in place since 2010. These measures, similar to Level 1 restrictions in other regions, include using hoses with a trigger, restricting garden sprinkler use to between 6:00 pm and 9:00 am and not hosing paved areas unless using a high pressure, low volume hose.

Icon Water says that dam levels are currently around 52 per cent but they are going down. Water restrictions may come into force if dam levels fall to 35-40 per cent.

McCormick says, “A key part of the decision to introduce water restrictions is dam levels, but they are not the only factor. We use a range of 35-40 per cent as an indicator that Stage 1 water restrictions may be required but there are other factors to be considered, these include the weather outlook and our overall consumption rate.

“Canberrans can play their part by being more conscious of the way they use water. We want people to think about things like not using the dishwasher or washing machine unless it is full, reducing shower times and turning the tap off when brushing your teeth. If you have a garden, consider installing rainwater tanks and greywater systems. If we all do a little, it can add up to a lot.”

Turning off the tap

Turning off the tap will help save Canberra’s water.

McCormick says that there are significant reasons for reducing our water use.

“There is a real social cost when we are in water restrictions.  As the city browns off it can affect people’s sense of well being. Our gardens suffer, our green spaces and playing fields dry out and become dusty and we won’t be able to fill our swimming pools.

“The good news is that we can all make changes that will have an impact now. We don’t have to wait. The choice is in the hands of Canberrans.”

More information on how to save water and share water-saving tips can be found at Icon Water.

Cotter Dam

Cotter Dam. Canberra’s water storage is currently around 52 per cent.


What's Your Opinion?


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41 Responses to Now is the time to save water
Damien Riley Damien Riley 8:50 am 26 Nov 19

Does the commercial car wash recycle water?

Damaris Wilson Damaris Wilson 8:29 am 26 Nov 19

I'm not going to let my garden die ... We need our green spaces, especially the trees! But yes, water in the cool of the day, when the sun won't suck up all the moisture again and burn the wet leaves.

Vincent Greene Vincent Greene 8:21 am 26 Nov 19

No, sorry. Now is NOT the time; Scaremo said.

David Klenka David Klenka 8:00 am 26 Nov 19

Use public car washes. If you have to water your garden do it in the evening. I see too many people in the deadset middle of the day watering their garden. Not necessary.

Mat Barber Mat Barber 2:34 pm 25 Nov 19

Why not start stage 1 restrictions now then whilst we have a decent amount of water stored instead of waiting until its low?

    Martin McMaster Martin McMaster 1:03 pm 26 Nov 19

    We are in stage 1 now

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:19 am 27 Nov 19

    Mat Barber why stop at stage 1? Why not 3 or 4 right away?

    But in seriousness the trigger for stage 1 is not when storage is low. It is simply the trigger.

Helen White Helen White 7:49 am 25 Nov 19

Restrictions NOW!

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:09 pm 24 Nov 19

Six months ago, the ACT Government declared “that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent actions across all levels of Government” and yet with our water reserves ebbing away, we still (apparently) don’t need stage 2 water restrictions – so do nothing now, and then have a scare campaign about “Day Zero” for Canberra water in the months before the 2020 Territory election……

Lyndon Zoukowski Lyndon Zoukowski 3:38 pm 24 Nov 19

Pretty simple to not waste it. 🤔

Tim Cole Tim Cole 12:33 pm 24 Nov 19

Save water. Shower with a friend (or 2)

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 10:34 am 24 Nov 19

Outrageous. Icon just want the revenue to keep rolling in.

Margarita Elisabeth Margarita Elisabeth 10:31 am 24 Nov 19

the key word here is "secure for now"!

Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 8:13 pm 23 Nov 19

Save water and up go the water rates...happened before.

Timothy O'Halloran Timothy O'Halloran 7:16 pm 23 Nov 19

That doesn’t mean we should waste water washing cars. If you want to save water bring in restrictions now. Note hen dams are nearly dry. And if their is Bush Fires they will drain the dams very quick. ACT NOW.

    Stuart Mcpherson Stuart Mcpherson 8:33 am 26 Nov 19

    Timothy O'Halloran rubbish we also payed 309 million to cover just this and we pay $4.60 a kilo litre the dearest in the country it sounds like your an alarmist .. get a grip .

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:34 pm 26 Nov 19

    Stuart Mcpherson You can rant how much it costs, but that won't end the drought or make it rain. What the money gave us was extra time before restrictions were needed, not a guarantee of when the drought will end and the dams can fill again. So it's you who needs to get a grip.

Matilda Sanchez Matilda Sanchez 3:03 pm 23 Nov 19

All the more reason to be very conscious of water use.

Timothy O'Halloran Timothy O'Halloran 9:35 am 23 Nov 19

Isn’t it time to use your BRAIN and bring in Restrictions before it I too late. Have 5 People in my street washing Cars now 09.30 am. How many cars can be washed before you realise IT IS TOOL LATE.

    Narelle Ford Narelle Ford 9:47 am 23 Nov 19

    Timothy O'Halloran The article says we have had them since 2010.

    Timothy O'Halloran Timothy O'Halloran 10:04 am 23 Nov 19

    Narelle Ford

    Then why is there vehicles getting wash in the street today

    Karyn Fearnside Karyn Fearnside 10:47 pm 23 Nov 19

    Timothy O'Halloran my neighbour is watering the lawn every night! It's green next to our brown 🤔

    John Kerry Tozer John Kerry Tozer 7:37 am 25 Nov 19

    Karyn Fearnside - read the restrictions!

    Celia Jane Lancaster Celia Jane Lancaster 7:48 pm 26 Nov 19

    No point washing your car ATM. The dust is going to be around until it rains.

Wendy Driver Wendy Driver 9:45 pm 22 Nov 19

I don’t understand why we can’t have pre-emptive restrictions. I keep my kids showers to 5 mins, put the washing machine water on the garden and and starting to bucket out the bath water onto the plants. Better to be using less now than be sorry later.

    Narelle Ford Narelle Ford 9:46 am 23 Nov 19

    Wendy Driver They have been in since 2010.

    Wendy Driver Wendy Driver 10:06 am 23 Nov 19

    Narelle Ford yes but they are pretty lenient.

    Geoff Kemp Geoff Kemp 9:57 pm 23 Nov 19

    Wendy Driver all water restrictions are pre-emptive. If 50% is not soon enough at what dam levels would you bring them in?

    Wendy Driver Wendy Driver 10:02 pm 23 Nov 19

    Geoff Kemp I think you misunderstood my comment. I would prefer we have stricter water restrictions before we got to 50%

    Liz Bruce Liz Bruce 10:49 am 25 Nov 19

    Wendy Driver I totally agree with you! Much better to be a bit more careful now.

Sher Young Sher Young 7:16 pm 22 Nov 19

We also know that we should water trees to keep them alive. As this benefits us in the longer term by keep us cooler. Be water wise, water a tree and leave the car dirty

    Geoff Kemp Geoff Kemp 9:58 pm 23 Nov 19

    Sher Young wash your car under a tree?

    Celia Jane Lancaster Celia Jane Lancaster 7:45 pm 26 Nov 19

    Use grey water to water the tree, that way the water gets reused 😊

David Brown David Brown 2:31 pm 22 Nov 19

I will reduce my weekly shower to fortnightly.

    Ian Macara Ian Macara 8:23 am 24 Nov 19

    David Brown pommy?

    David Brown David Brown 9:02 am 24 Nov 19

    Ian Macara Thinking of emigration 🙂

    Damaris Wilson Damaris Wilson 8:24 am 26 Nov 19

    David Brown pommy wash - use a flannel (face washer) and sponge yourself down ...

    Damaris Wilson Damaris Wilson 8:26 am 26 Nov 19

    Ian Macara you probably don't understand there are ways of keeping clean without full immersion? 🤭🇬🇧

    David Brown David Brown 8:38 am 26 Nov 19

    Damaris Wilson But only if and when I need it 😉

    Damaris Wilson Damaris Wilson 1:11 am 27 Nov 19

    David Brown definitely - not an everday thing of choice!

Ed N Joanne Towner Ed N Joanne Towner 11:57 am 22 Nov 19

Yep we need to be more water conscious than usual. We have it good and we want to stay that way as much as possible.

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