Melbourne water has a useful site
publishing the current reservoir levels each week. The records go back twelve years now, and what they show is not good.
Skip back to 1996, when the levels were about 96% and a drought started.
1996-97: water levels drop to 70%.
The levels stablise, in between a bad season every three years or so:
99 - 01
02 - 05
Things really started looking serious in 2006, when levels dropped to 40%
And this year looks pretty grim as well (although we are getting rain, unlike 2006, when there was no rain whatsoever.)
More significant is the level in mid-winter (the low point) which has dropped from 80% in 1996 to 30% in 2008 (and looks like being 25% in 2009)
My prediction is that the reservoirs will be running dry in 8-10 years.
What to do?
- A new dam a) takes time and b) assumes that there will be rain to capture
- Piping water from the Goulburn is laughable (with Lake Eildon currently at 9%, what water would that be?)
- A salination plant is feasible, but is huge and expensive.
- Recycling the water is cheaper, but has unfortunate connotations and no politician seems game to touch it.
Labels: drought melbourne