28 August 2010

Once a Water Watcher, Always a Water Watcher

I have cabin fever, and I live in the 'burbs!  It has been weeks since I've done more than race out the back and pick spinach and silverbeet or pull a cauli or cabbage for dinner.  I haven't even had to water.  Goodness I thought we would always be on water restrictions, but apparently not.  Our state government, in it's wisdom, had decided that now our water stocks are back up to a smidge over 40% they can ease water restrictions.

From the 1st September Melbournians will be able to use a hose with a trigger nozzle, bucket or watering can to water their gardens at any time. We will also be able to wash our cars at home with a bucket or a high pressure water saving device.  It has been four years since we have been able to do these things.

And you know what? I am used to watering early in the morning twice a week. I love to get up early during spring and summer and spend some quiet time in the garden, tending our veggies and the ferns. For four years my garden has flourished. Yes, keeping the water up to the veggies has required a little effort, but I have managed (with help of course from Wayne).

We have had green lawns, front and back, during the worst of the summer thanks to our water recycling regime. It takes less than five minutes each morning to move the soaker hoses around the lawn before I start the washing machine.

My concern with the easing of water restrictions is that once again we will become complacent with our water use.  One long, hot, very dry spring, summer and autumn and our water storages will be down to critical levels again.

It has been said that the increase in water rates will keep waste under control but I'm not convinced. Conditioning is insidious, and if bills rise a little each quarter, most people won't even realise they are paying more, let alone that they are paying more because they are using more.

One thing I am going to do after the 1st September though, is wash the outside of the windows with a bucket, broom and hose. Wayne has been doing them with an ice cream container of water and rags for the last few years, which makes them a huge job. We have 26 windows around our house, with the front ones being colonial. A hose will definitely make this chore easier.

With all the rain we've had recently the tanks are full, so I plan to maintain that 124 litres during summer, even with the bigger veggie garden.  According to our bill we only use 124 litres per person per day, down 31 litres from the 155 a day suggested as a target.

We still need to be conscious of how much water we use and just what we use good drinking water for. The target of 155 litres of water a day per person hasn't changed, just when and what we can do with it.


  1. With the cost of water, you would have to be insane to start being "a wally with water" One leaky toilet sent our bill sky high. I really can't understand the easing of restrictions, wasting our most precious resource to wash cars is just ludicrous. Melbourne's water supplies are far more important. We have been so used to being careful for years the emphisis should be on preserving water, regardless of current rainfalls.


  2. Mel I agree wholeheartedly and am very disappointed that the State government has decided to ease what I understood to be permanent restrictions on the use of "drinking" water.

    Like you, we have become used to living with level 3 water restrictions. I can honestly say they have not had a negative impact on our lives at all.

    The cynic in me thinks it's an election ploy, I hope I'm wrong.

  3. If it is an election ploy it could backfire, given the Green vote in the federal election it will be interesting what their policies regarding water restriction will be at a state level.



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