New data issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has shown the ACT’s net water consumption is low while Canberra’s water quality is up.
ACT Minister for the Environment and Heritage Mick Gentleman told Canberra Weekly Canberrans have good water usage habits.
“Canberrans have retained a significant per capita reduction in water consumption compared to the years before the millennium drought.
“In addition, changes in housing patterns to more multi-storey attached dwellings across Canberra has reduced the relative demand for garden water use,” he said.
Another factor keeping net consumption down is that a sizeable portion of water used by Canberra households and industry is returned to the environment in the form of treated wastewater.
On top of this, the Integrated Water Accounts for the Canberra region, 2013-14 to 2016-17 report showed that in June 2017, the total volume of water resources in the Canberra region was 27% higher than in 2013.
The increase in stored water capacity comes down to the 2013 completion of the Enlarged Cotter Dam, which increased the dam’s storage capacity from 4 Gigalitres to 79.4 Gigalitres.
The findings also showed that water quality for all the ACT’s lakes and ponds was rated as “good”.
Minister Gentleman said water quality improvements are largely a result of extensive catchment restoration efforts in response to damage from the 2003 bushfires.
“These works included land stabilisation, sediment and erosion controls, weed management and revegetation programs,” he said.
Minister Gentleman also pointed to the recently released National Performance Report of 2017-18 on Water Utilities as a clear indicator that the ACT compares well to other jurisdictions nationally.
“Canberra’s water consumption is considered very efficient when compared to other Australian cities, particularly when such factors as climate, location and economies of scale are taken into account,” he said.
Minister Gentleman said it’s important “we make a concerted effort to continue our water-wise ways, and do our part to keep waterways clean”.
“Canberrans can assist in improving water quality in our waterways through behaviours such as not allowing waste, rubbish and leaves to pass into our stormwater channels and urban ponds.”
For general information on water saving, see environment.act.gov.au/water