Sydney Water has a section of their website which has become a must-read for me – the Bulk Water Storage and Supply Report. It tells you how close Sydney is to running out of water.
I don’t actually do that much to save water (except live in the innercity without a garden), so the fascination to me is something like a slow motion train wreck – it’s clear that the alarmist articles about Sydney only having two years of water left are false (even getting to this point we’ve had more than zero rain in the last two years), but on the slope of the curve since 1998, we’ve got about five or six years left.
The most recent week (to December 22) had 280 megalitres of water a day going into the catchment, and Sydney using an average of 1583 litres a day. You had to go back to December 1 for a week with significantly more flowing into the dams (7000 Ml a day) than was being used. And that was the first big rain we had had for six months.
We are starting to change behaviour in Sydney. Driving back from the south coast a few days ago, I noticed a few businesses that wouldn’t have existed 10 years ago – selling water tanks for your backyard. Even in our house, we’ve reduced our water use by 20% in the last year (mainly by buying a low flow showerhead, which I hate). But I’m starting to wonder whether we’re going to change our behaviour fast enough.