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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4477 ..

70 per cent. The current conditions we are experiencing are similar to those in 2005, which was followed by the driest year on record and a depletion of our storage to the lowest recorded levels. The efficient use of our water resource must pervade our society’s water use. Indeed, in discussing these issues with my constituents at my mobile offices, this appears to be the opinion held by most.

This is definitely a recovery year for our storage following years which were severely dry. It is time for us to “put water in the bank” by embedding our good water use practices to ensure long-term supply against the predictions of climate change impacts. Cotter remains our most productive catchment. The three dams within the catchment are close to or at capacity. We are currently transferring all we can from these reservoirs to Googong, our largest water storage.

The ACT government has invested significantly across a range of infrastructure programs to ensure that all people in the ACT have clean and secure water for years to come. These projects include ongoing works like the Murrumbidgee to Googong project, the Tantangara transfer project and, of course, the major upgrade of the Cotter Dam. Once the ACT’s water security projects are complete, we will have broadened our catchments and be better able to store water received during high rainfall periods, like we have seen recently, to get us through the dry times.

Permanent water conservation measures are designed to facilitate long-term efficient water use and are a major contributor to the government’s target of reducing per capita potable water consumption of 12 per cent by 2013, which is on track, and by 25 per cent by 2023. Actew have estimated that the permanent water conservation measures have resulted in estimated water savings of at least eight gigalitres per year. As such, these measures make a critical contribution towards achieving our water savings targets.

Permanent water conservation measures were introduced in 2002 as a statutory scheme under the Utilities Act 2000. They are part of the government’s longstanding think water, act water strategy that was introduced in March 2006. Permanent water conservation measures were introduced after community consultation and restrict the watering of lawns and gardens to morning and evening hours, ban hosing of hard surfaces, including driveways and windows, control the use of sprinklers for dust suppression and introduce the compulsory use of trigger hoses for car washing.

In contrast to temporary restrictions, which are designed to meet short-term demand reduction targets, the permanent water conservation measures are designed to secure permanent water efficiencies in the ACT without imposing unreasonable impositions on the lifestyle of ACT residents.

Actew, in close consultation with DECCEW, is developing a proposed new permanent water conservation measures scheme. The new scheme has two major changes to the existing scheme: firstly, new or expanded customer categories to make differentiation between each stage clearer and therefore easier to implement and, secondly, a proposal to expand the scope of permanent water conservation measures to include a requirement for certain classes of non-residential customers to submit water saving plans.

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