Securing our water supply

Water is essential to life, the environment, our economy and Melbourne’s famous liveability, but we can’t rely on rain anymore to meet our growing water needs. Climate change and population growth mean we all need to work together to make every drop count, as Andrew Hansen explains. 

 

This is what the Yarra might look like without water.
Artists impression: What the Yarra would look like without water.

Make every drop count by reaching Target 155

We agree, Andrew: everyone wants to live in Melbourne and our climate is getting hotter. More people means greater demand on our water storages. A hotter, drier climate means less rain to fill our reservoirs.

We’re working to plan for and manage these challenges and we need your help. Melburnians are water wise, but we all need to do our bit to ensure we reach our daily target of 155 litres per person. Find out how.

 

How you can reach Target 155

 

Know our water supply challenges

Imagine the Yarra without water...
Artists impression: the Yarra without water. Can you imagine it?

Did you know Melbourne is using more water than rainfall is providing? What we're experiencing is not fleeting: it's our new normal.

Our water storage levels recently hovered around 50%, the lowest storage level since just after the Millennium Drought in 2011.

Building more dams is not the solution for boosting water storage levels because in the long run, there will simply be less rain to fill them.

 

Watch a quick overview of this important issue for Melbourne.

 

Yes, climate change and population growth are challenges to our water supply that are real and ongoing. In addition, history has taught us that water storage levels can drop quickly.

  • During the Millennium Drought, levels dropped 20% in one year and as much as 30% in 18 months.
  • On average over the last five years, our storages have lost 68 billion litres per year. 
  • Without input from desalinated water, we would have lost 83 billion litres per year.
     

Know our water supply challenges

 

Read the Water Outlook

Did you know we collaborate with the metropolitan retail water companies to produce the Water Outlook each year? 

The outlook provides a summary of the state of Melbourne's water supply and demand, setting out actions to be taken by the water industry to maintain safe and reliable supplies.

It is based on storage volumes in the Melbourne water supply system on 30 November each year, is published on 1 December each year, and applies for the year ahead. 

The Water Outlook for 2019 explains that though Melbourne’s water storages are secure, real and growing challenges to our water supply availability require us all to act.

Read the Water Outlook

 

Picture of a waterway with the Melbourne skyline in the background
The city skyline in the background highlights how waterways are a huge part of our city.

How we’re taking action

We have been implementing plans to secure our water supply.

During the Millennium Drought, severe water restrictions took a great toll on our daily lives and had a lasting impact on the economy and our liveability. 

To avoid this, Melbourne Water is working in collaboration with government and water retailers to manage our water supply now and into the future. We need to be innovative in the way we manage our precious resource. 

Read more about how we're combining desalinated water with water-efficiency measures, as well as investing in recycled water and stormwater harvesting, to reduce our demand on storages  and build a secure supply for Melbourne into the future. 

 

How the water sector is taking action

 

Working together, we can all continue to enjoy Melbourne’s famous lifestyle with enough water for our future.

Last updated:
30 November 2019