Melbourne plans to half water use this summer

By Staff Writer

The City of Melbourne has outlined an ambitious plan to achieve a minimum 50 per cent reduction in its water use this summer.

The council’s $4.5m drought relief commitment includes a wide range of water saving initiatives to protect Melbourne’s parks and gardens.

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor John So says the council has already achieved significant water savings.

“We achieved a 60 per cent reduction in water use in our parks and gardens from January to June 2007, and as a Council we are committed to maintaining this level of water saving during this period of drought and achieving better levels of savings into the future,” he says.

The initiative aims to enable the council to continue with limited use of potable water for the irrigation of trees garden beds and sports grounds, should water restrictions remain at their current level throughout the summer.

The central components of the Melbourne’s initiative include:

• installing an additional 40km of sub-surface irrigation systems to complement the 100km of dripper pipes already in place from last summer;
• replacing city parks and sports ground lawns with drought-tolerant grasses to increase durability for sports and events;
• upgrading the sub-surface irrigation system for trees in boulevards to ensure they can access the water they need;
• using reclaimed water from Royal Park wetlands to water the Royal Park Golf Course and Royal Park North sports grounds, as well as supplying water to the city’s trees and selected fountains;
• designing and implementing an extension to the storage capacity of the Royal Park Wetlands reclaimed water scheme to provide more water for trees and other sports grounds; and
• placing additional mulch under trees to improve water retention over summer.

The City of Melbourne manages 560 hectares of open space, 55,000 trees in parks and streets, four swimming pools and a public golf course.


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