Sprinkler bans in force to help WA dams

31 May, 2011 02:02 PM

FOLLOWING one of the driest autumns on record, the state government has introduced a sprinkler ban for the winter months for the second consecutive year.

The announcement comes as dams across the state are more than 80 gigalitres lower than they were at the same time last year, at just 22.5 per cent capacity overall.

The complete sprinkler ban will be enforced from tomorrow to the end of August, covering the metropolitan area to Mandurah and parts of the South-West.

Water Minister Bill Marmion said last year, 4.2 billion litres was saved as a result of the restrictions.

The ban comes as farmers celebrate the first of the winter rains this week.

WA Farmers Federation president Mike Norton said despite one of the driest starts to the year on record, farmers and growers in the Wheatbelt region were hoping for a downpour in the coming days.

"We need a lot of rain events like the one we got 10 days ago, and what we're getting at the moment," Mr Norton said.

"If we continue to get similar rain events, everybody will be pretty happy."

Water Corporation spokesman Phil Kneebone said there would need to be "significant rain, every three or four days at least before the dams felt any impact".

"At the moment they remain extremely dry after the extraordinarily low-rainfall 2010 winter, the equal-hottest summer on record and ongoing hot weather with only a couple of wet spells," Mr Kneebone said.

"We do not really expect run-off to any degree until well into June and often July."

The ban applies to garden bores, scheme and more than 600 licensed bore water users, including local governments, schools, golf courses, universities, major parks, race courses and businesses irrigating areas of non-commercial turf, lawns and gardens.

Hand watering is still permitted, and those establishing a new lawn or garden can apply for an exemption, as can community garden managers.

Anyone caught flouting the restrictions would face a penalty.

Perth was forecasted to have showers for the rest of the working week, with maximum temperatures between 20 and 22 degrees for the next three days. The weekend is expected to be cloudy over the weekend, with maximums of 20 degrees and overnight lows of eight degrees.



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