Yarra River flows under threat

The government may cut water flows into the stressed Yarra River in a bid to prop up Melbourne’s dwindling supplies.

Water Minister Tim Holding said water authorities were looking at suspending flows from the Yarra and Thomson rivers if water storages continued to fall.

The government has already broken a 2006 pledge to release an extra 17 billion litres of water into the Yarra to supplement reservoirs.

Mr Holding said storages had dipped below 27 per cent capacity and it was vital to investigate contingencies.

With no sign of the drought easing, the government is desperate to shore up Melbourne’s supplies before a planned desalination plant is completed in 2011.

"While we have to see what inflows eventuate over the coming months, it is important that we understand the impact of suspending some environmental flows should one of these options be needed," Mr Holding said.

"We are particularly conscious that the Yarra River has been under stress as a result of the recent bushfires and the ongoing drought.

"This will be carefully assessed as part of this process."

Melbourne Water will examine the impacts of suspending flows on the Yarra River and the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority will examine the Thomson River.

Reference:  News.com.au /  herald Sun May 22nd    http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,,25522021-2862,00.html

WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

To save what little water is left in the Yarra River, lobby your local member to move to the next stage of water restrictions to ensure all Melbourne residents are still conscious of their water usage, don’t become complacent and reduce their water usage to stop the need to take even more water from the river.