Water Security

This is a scary picture.  When I first moved to Melton in August 2000, our local reservoir was full to the brim and water was spilling over the slipway.  Today, this is what it looks like;

Merimu dam0001 
It was only a few years ago when in about the 10th year of the Victorian drought, the State government and water companies decided that it was probably best if Melton was connected to Metropolitan Melbourne’s water network.  It took a full year to lay a pipeline from Sydenham to Melton township, and the associated pumping stations to connect the two systems.  We are now in our 13th year of below average rainfall in our district with no end to the drought in sight, but at least we have a water supply that is a little more secure.

I dread to think that if this vital piece of infrastructure was not put in place, the entire town would either be drinking muddy water, or would have started to become a ghost town due to water shortages.  Food for thought, and probably a very good time to think of your own water security if you are in a similar situation. 

Misc 260
We do get rainfall here, and certainly enough to fill up my small 2300 litre tank, and if I had the money I would put a gutter on the carport and get a 10,000 litre tank with the option of connecting it to the house hold supply.  A small solar powered pump, a UV sanitizer and filter would be all that would be required to be independent from mains water.  Something to plan for in the very near future!
art 546
I suppose all that water in the swimming pool could be desalinated with a simple solar still, so we are probably no as bad off as I first thought.  We have been putting the runoff from the tank into the pool so it is also full to the brim.  I think it holds 50,000 litres, so certainly enough and if necessary easy to convert into a proper water storage facility.  It only needs a big lid to stop evaporation. 
When we get that desperate that I have to start desalinating pool water, I think that water security will only one of a long list of issues that we would be up against!  I shouldn’t complain one little bit, because I know that many millions of people have to travel up to 10km per day just to carry back daily water supply of 20 litres the 10km on the return trip to their homes.  We don’t have it bad at all.  I think about this often and I feel selfish having all that water when others have none or little to keep them alive.  It make you realise just how good we have it here in Australia, and that we shouldn’t waste a single drop.


  1. says

    As long as you don’t live in an area where air-pollution is a problem, you can easily leave out the UV and filtering elements from a rainwater system without any danger. We have 15kl of tanks attached to our house — for most of the time when the (2) kids were still living at home we only had 10kl, and it was plenty (though housewater is gravity fed from a header tank and not pressure pumped) for all our house needs. In fact I would say that our water store never ever dropped below 50%.

    Of course we’re fanatic about ensuring that only clean water gets into the water tanks in the first place, but aside from that the lack of sterilisation and output filtering has never caused anyone a problem. The human gut is far more robust than the “sanitation industry” would have us all believe!

    For us there is no possibility of municipal water (thankfully! means I don’t have to drink whatever chemical cocktail they chuck into it!) nor is borehole water cost-effective. http://mikro2nd.net/farm/Wiki.jsp?page=WaterSupply has the details of how the house supply works if you’re interested.

  2. says

    We’ve got 15,000 litres of water tanks on our suburban block. Not enough for all our needs but it is plumbed into our loo and laundry and it does cut our usage down a lot and it means I can water the veggies properly.

    ps thanks to your blog my husband has been bitten by the cheesemaking bug!

  3. says

    The water situation in Australia is indeed precarious. It concerns me that they think they can add another 14 million people to the population over the next 40 years. Where is that water supposed to come from?

    At least in Australia people are reasonably water wise. I’m an Aussie living in Souther California and I was shocked to see the water wastage here. Last year we had 3 inches of rain in total. We live in a desert and yet everyone has lush green lawns. It infuriates me. We’ve let ours all but die and only water it with our laundry greywater. We feel like we are making a statement, but it’s probably completely lost on my neighbors.

  4. says

    Those tanks are great. I have relatives near Macedon who installed as many as they could to keep the water for their garden. I wish our apartment complex had a tank, or a system of some sort. So much runs off the balcony when it rains (not often as you know.) I’ve become adept at saving shower water and veggie washing water to combat the dryness here in Melbourne. Wonder if there are other solutions.

  5. says

    Gavin, here on the other side of the border (S.A.)our water catchment dams are all overflowing for the first time in many years. Although we live only 40 minutes from the CBD we have NO mains water, we rely on what we can catch from the sky. In 22 years we have only run out of water once and that was the first year after we moved up into the hills district.

  6. says

    Although I live in area with no shortage of water (yet) I want to put in a collection system too. Where did you get those terrific tanks?

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