Melbourne water ban extended

Restrictions on water use in one of Australia's major cities will remain in place until the end of November, the state government has announced.

Victoria’s Water Minister Tim Holding said the existing Stage 3a restrictions in Melbourne would be extended.

Gardens can only be watered with a hose twice a week between 6am and 8am, and only one in four sports grounds can be watered.

The restrictions were first introduced in the city on April 1 2007 and have remained in place throughout Australia’s drought.

“Melburnians have done a great job saving water, with 34% less water used per person in 2007 compared to the 1990s,” Mr Holding said.

“But there is no room for complacency, with households using 60% of Melbourne’s water.”

Melbourne’s water storages were only 29.6% full on June 10, and autumn rainfall in its major catchment areas was down to about 45% of the 30-year average.

Opposition water spokeswoman Louise Asher told local media the government should have done more to improve infrastructure.

“The big issue for me is that the government’s role is to secure supplies of water for Melbourne and it could have built a dam, it could have built a desalination plant and it could have upgraded the Eastern Treatment Plant to produce class A water,” she said.

“All of these things could have been done and the government’s done absolutely nothing other than run TV ads and tell householders to cut back on water consumption.”

But Mr Holding said the decision had enabled businesses such as nurseries, car washes and landscape gardeners to continue to operate during the ongoing drought.

“The flexibility of these water restrictions and the increased use of recycled water has enabled every sporting league across Victoria to operate this year, which is so important to young people and the wider community,” he added.

More than 350 towns across Victoria have some form of water restriction in place.

Kate Martin

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