Target 155 - Prepare Now For An El Nino Summer

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11th December 2009, 02:54pm - Views: 796
Melburnians have achieved Target 155 for the second week running, using an average of 153 litres per person, per day aided by the unexpected, but welcomed, summer rain.

But water authorities are urging Melbourne gardeners to prepare now for an El Nino summer marked by periods of extreme weather, with the pressing need to finish their summer garden preparations before the heat returns. This advice is supported by the Bureau of Meteorology's announcement that Australia has just recorded its hottest six months on record.

"While good spring rains have enabled Melburnians to use nearly a bucket less on each of their designated watering days as compared to last year, proper preparation before the hot weather hits is essential, to help us maintain our water savings and the long term health of our gardens when temperatures soar," explains Tony Kelly, Target 155 Spokesperson and Managing Director of Yarra Valley Water.

What concerns both gardening experts and water authorities is the false sense of security that spring rain has provided. Without diligent preparation, such as mulching, using water saving crystals and watering deeply but less often Melbourne's gardens are being trained to turn brown as soon as the heatwaves return.

Mr Kelly urged gardeners to take full advantage of the expert advice available from local Water Saver Garden Centres and look into the great rebates available on many water saving products.

"Using water in a sustainable manner in your garden can be as simple as utilising low-tech grey water diverters, water saving crystals and plant tonics," details Mr Kelly.

"In addition to good preparation, it is just as important to be watchful for the telltale signs of over-watering yellowing foliage and wilting, which can easily look like heat stress. Before watering on your allocated day, test the soil by pushing aside the mulch and with a finger, test if the soil is moist below the surface. Unless the soil is bone dry, skip this watering day to see your garden thrive," explains Mr Kelly.

The announcement of maturing El Nino conditions has confirmed the need to create drought resistant water sources. Work is currently underway to build Australia's largest desalination plant, to upgrade irrigation channels and to expand the water grid. But until these projects start delivering their full benefits to the community, the need to keep diligently saving water remains.

For more water saving tips and information head to

Under Stage 3a Water Restrictions:
* Lawns must not be watered at any time
* Even and no-numbered properties can water plants on Saturday and Tuesday 6am - 8am
* Odd-numbered properties can water plants on Sunday and Wednesday 6am - 8am
* Residents aged 70+ can water plants on their specified days between 6am 8am OR the alternate time of 8am 10am
* Automatic dripper systems can be used to water plants on specified watering days between midnight 2am
* Rain/ grey water can be used at any time
* Cars can be washed at commercial car washes or at home using rain/ grey water
* No watering is permitted on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

For Additional information or for Interviews
Caroline Doherty,
Media Manager Target 155
T(03) 9872 2473
M:0421 465 274
[email protected]

Rainfall Storages and Rainfall Data
Nick McGay,
Melbourne Water
T(03) 9235 2278
M: 0438 981 836
[email protected]

Spring 2009 compared with Spring 2008.

SOURCE: Target 155 - Yarra Valley Water

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