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Canberra’s water usage at historic lows

Canberra’s water consumption trends in the past few decades suggest restrictions put in place during the Millennium Drought have had a lasting effect on the territory’s usage.

Australia’s capital currently consumes the same amount of water as it did in the 1970s, despite the city’s population almost doubling since that time.

The average water consumption per person per day is 304L, compared to a high of 500L in the early 1990s.

Icon Water Senior Demand and Analytics Officer Timothy Purves told The Canberra Times that since the Millennium Drought, Canberra’s water consumption has stayed down.

"Since 2008, our water consumption has been very steady, with an average water consumption of almost 110kl per capita per year," Purves said.

And while Canberra is well known for periods of dry weather – the territory just experienced its driest June since 1982 – Purves said its water supply system was designed to withstand multi-year droughts and there is no prospect of a shortage in the foreseeable future.

"The current volume of water in storage is equivalent to about four and a half years' total Canberra and Queanbeyan consumption,” he said.

"Currently our dams are storing more water than we could have held at capacity prior to the construction of the enlarged Cotter Dam.

“This is still a lot of water in comparison to our lowest water storage level at 64 billion litres or 31% water storage in the Millennium Drought."