Restraints in place

Published: Saturday 30 November 2002

For the first time in two decades, Australia is reeling under a water crunch. Restrictions on water use have been imposed on Melbourne residents. Environment minister Sherryl Garbutt has directed the people to use watering systems sparingly during the day and reduce washing their cars with hoses. Empty pools and spas can only be filled with permission from a water retailer.

The stringent moves come in the face of dipping water levels in the city's reservoirs. Garbutt said that if below-average rainfall persists, the curbs may last nine months or longer. There are fears that the crisis may deepen with reserves plummeting from the current 54 per cent to 46 per cent. And if thisdoes happen, stage-two restrictions -- no watering of lawns and no car washing or rinsing with a hose -- would be enforced. Premier Steve Bracks said he believed residents would observe the restrictions introduced because of the once-in-20 years drought conditions.

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