The Andrews Labor Government today announced that Victoria’s water storages are currently secure at 71.4 per cent capacity.
Accordingly, the Government will not be ordering water from the Victorian Desalination Project for 2015-16.
However, if local communities face a lack of water over the next few years, if low stream flows continue, or if major bushfires in our catchments affect the quality of inflows to storages, desalinated water will likely be required.
The plant will remain in standby mode to serve as a reliable insurance policy against Melbourne running out of water.
Melbourne’s storages received just 420 GL in 2014, the lowest annual inflow since the end of the Millennium Drought in 2009. Melbourne’s total water use in 2014 was 407 GL.
The desalination plant is an important part of Melbourne’s water supply and is capable of supplying up to 150 GL litres of high quality drinking water a year if required.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville
“With storages currently at 71.4 per cent, we won’t be ordering water from the desalination plant this year but the low inflows we received in 2014 and dry conditions in our catchments are a sobering reminder of the value of being well prepared for the challenges of adapting to climate change.”
“Desalination is our insurance policy against drought and climate change and guarantees Melbourne’s water supply in times of low rainfall and emergencies such as floods and fires.”
“Having a rainfall-independent, large-scale water supply of up to 150 GL a year is vital for our water security.”