THE residents of Melbourne have been urged to use water sparingly. Restrictions were imposed due to depletion of local water supplies. Geelong residents, who have been enduring similar restrictions since February, could face even tighter controls over summer. Despite good rains, water authorities across the state have been struggling to meet demands. The water situation has become alarming since the city faced one of the driest summers on record and an abnormally dry winter. Operations manager, water, for the western Australian provinces, Steve McKenzie, said the Melton-Sunbury area's two main storage dams were 60 per cent empty.
Now, gardens cannot be watered with sprinklers; public parks and sports grounds can be watered only between 8 am and 9 am; market garden, nursery and chicken farm water usage is slightly restricted; fountains must be turned off and driveways must not be hosed down. About 80,000 residents would be affected by the restrictions, which were expected to last until next autumn, McKenzie said.