Well, we survived the hot spell during the three days with the temperatures over 43 deg C around Victoria, Australia, but my heart is saddened for those who just lost their home and all their belongings due to the fire few days ago. Now at this very moment the temperature is 30.5 deg C (87 deg F). All my water tanks that catch water from the gutter are empty; we haven’t had rain for almost a month now. Some of my precious plants, especially the camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons suffered terribly from the heat and now most the leaves are crispy dry.
Over the period of 1995 to 2008, Melbourne’s rainfall and that in the catchments , has fallen by 75 %, most probably as an effect of climate change. We still have 3a water restrictions in Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs. No watering the garden anytime but only on certain specific times . My house is even number, so we are allowed to water the garden only on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 6.00 to 8.00 in the morning only. Though we are allowed to water the plants during a specified time, we cannot water lawn at all. I’m afraid that the days of green lawns and kids having fun under a water sprinkler are things of the past for Melbournians.
For those who want to try to use grey water from the washing machine have to consider the risks of contamination. I use grey water from the washing machine but only from the 2nd and 3rd rinses. The restrictions also forbid us to wash cars at home. For those who own a swimming pool or a spa: An existing pool or spa must not be topped up except by means of a watering can or bucket, filled directly from a tap (not by means of a hose). It is recommended to install a good pool cover to minimise water from evaporating. Those who install a new swimming pool or a spa are not allowed to fill it from tap water, and have to find alternative water source, which means have to buy a tank or two of bore water.
Melbourne is facing a bleak future in regard of fresh water supply. The rain falls are obviously insufficient. There must be other measures to take rather than just depending on rain water. The Victorian Government is planning a $3.1 billion desalination plant to be built in Wonthaggi region by the end of 2011. Though it may be a good solution but not without any cost for Melbournians. The cost of desalination is not cheap and it will make water bills go higher.
It is imminent that in near future we have to depend on water that is coming from treatment or desalination plants. Rainfalls have become scarcer, the temperature is heating up and it affects the farming sectors. Food prices are higher and also the cost of living in general.
I do hope that it is all just momentary freaks of nature and sooner or later the cycle of abundant rains will be back for us to take for granted. Only the future will tell. Meanwhile, let’s just try to save our precious water…….
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