1344.8.55.001 - ACT Stats, 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/12/2004   
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Water restrictions a problem for ACT households

More than half (58%) of ACT households reported water restrictions as a problem in 2004, according to new analysis of previously released Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data.

ABS Regional Director, Tracy Stewart, said this was the highest rate nationally and compared with 38% of Victorian households and 34% of New South Wales households reporting water supply restrictions as a problem with their mains water supply.

"Compared with the other states and territories, the ACT has moved from the lowest proportion of households reporting water supply restrictions as a problem in 2001 (0.4%), to the highest proportion in 2004," she said.

Drought and bushfire have combined to have a major impact on water supply in the ACT in the last few years. As a result of the January 2003 bushfires, sediment run off into Canberra's catchments meant that the ACT water supply had to be sourced solely from Googong Dam in NSW for a period of three months.

Total water usage in the ACT in 2003–04 fell by 13,305 megalitres over the previous year, despite an increase in customers. Annual water consumption per capita decreased by just under a quarter (24%) during the same period.

Other highlights include:
    • ACT rainfall was 463 mm in 2003–04, which was 25% less than the long-term average of 625 mm.
    • Evaporation was 1778 mm in 2003–04, which was 5% above the long-term average of 1694 mm.

More detailed analysis can be found in this feature article.