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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4478 ..


Temporary water restrictions are designed to protect water security by introducing measures that reduce consumption during droughts, given storage levels and demand pressures. Each stage targets savings relative to annual reductions in consumption: in stage 1, 10 per cent; stage 2, 25 per cent; stage 3, 35 per cent; and stage 4, 55 per cent. This is achieved through the application of a variety of restrictions relating to the use of water domestically and commercially through the stages that I have just outlined.

In deciding which level to set and therefore which stage—stage 1 through to stage 4—of temporary water restrictions should be in force, Actew has to consider dam storage levels; the time of year and likely future consumption of water; daily consumption levels in the immediate preceding period; daily consumption levels in the corresponding periods in previous years; currently available weather forecasts and other meteorological advice; the desirability of reducing water usage on an ongoing basis; the desirability of avoiding excess reliance on only one of the ACT’s water catchments; the possibility that, if restrictions do not sufficiently reduce current water consumption, water available for later supply may be of a quality that may cause damage to property; and any other relevant considerations at that particular time.

The current stage 2 restrictions are part of the approved temporary water restrictions scheme. Actew can make a change to the level of restrictions under the scheme provided it informs the minister and consults with the environmental planning authority beforehand. Such consultation took place prior to the recent move from stage 3 and another round will follow any Actew decision to move to a different stage of restrictions.

As a performance target the government has set the objective of the ACT only being in temporary water restrictions one year in 20. This is a standard that is common across all states and territories. With this standard in place the government, in conjunction with Actew, is reviewing the ACT water supply outlook every five years to ensure we have a safe and secure water supply as our city grows and the effects of climate change show their impact on our region and catchments.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.02): I would like to start by quoting two passages from a well-known poem by John O’Brien:

And so around the chorus ran

“It’s keepin’ dry, no doubt.”

“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,

“Before the year is out.”

And towards the end of the same poem:

And every creek a banker ran,

And dams filled overtop;

“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,

“If this rain doesn’t stop.”

These two quotes look at the negative effects, in the words of another well-known poem, “of drought and flooding rain”—the extremes which we in Australia find so


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