Sydney Water is urging people to stay vigilant as water usage spikes by 17 per cent, and dam levels begin to fall.
Sydneysiders are heading into what is expected to be one of the hottest summers on record. This follows the driest winter in 37 years. Customers are urged to minimise their water use as Sydney faces a potential cycle of restrictions and inevitable drought.
With no significant rainfall since November 2022, water depletion has occurred across Greater Sydney’s dams. This includes a six per cent drop at Warragamba.
Warragamba Dam supplies most of Sydney’s drinking water. It has dropped to 94 per cent capacity since November 2022, when the dam last operated at 100 per cent.
In the past week, dams have collectively dropped 0.5 per cent.
Olympic Canoeist Jess Fox will front a new campaign to help educate the public that we can no longer rely on rainfall.
“Everyone needs to understand the future of water depends on all of us. It’s easy to take water for granted. With a changing climate and a growing population, the time has come for us to tackle demand,” Ms Fox said.
Sydney Water Managing Director Roch Cheroux said $30 billion will be spent over the next 10 years upgrading existing networks and infrastructure as part of a long-term operating plan.
“While we are not going into drought next week, we are doing everything we can to secure the future of water for Sydney,” said Cheroux. “Drought in Australia is cyclic and inevitable. Recent advice indicates we are moving into a phase where rain is expected to hit historic lows over the next 12 months. It’s not about today; it’s about tomorrow. It was only four years ago we experienced one of the worst droughts in history.”
Sydney Water wants you to do the right thing
Early analysis indicates if the dry weather continues, Sydney could be under Level One water restrictions in just 12 months by November 2024 or early 2025.
Sydney Water Head of Water Supply and Production, Ben Blayney, said they could drop quickly when dam levels start to fall.
“There is a perception that the dams are full and Sydney’s water supply is endless. The message is we cannot wait until the dams are empty to take action,” Mr Blayney said.
“What we can see as part of our daily monitoring processes is a series of red flags. These are the same trends we experienced going into the last drought.
“The unpredictable weather patterns we’ve seen over the past two years are just a taste of what’s to come. We need to act now to be better prepared to minimise the impact of the next drought.
“That’s why we’re asking Sydneysiders to work with us to save every precious drop,” Mr Blayney said.
Minister for Water Rose Jackson said as we head into another dry period, we need everyone to pitch in and do their part to conserve water.
“Small changes in habits like turning the tap off while brushing your teeth or only running the dishwasher when it’s full can make a big difference. With El Nino declared, I encourage everyone to look at their water habits. Together, we can work out how we can reduce water use,” Minister Jackson said.
“The future of our water resources is in all of our hands. It is why we need to use water more responsibly to help safeguard supplies during these warmer months.”
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