Call to be water-wise despite the soaking

TASMANIANS are being encouraged to be mindful of their water use, despite the recent rains.

Even though it has been a wetter than average spring, bushfire potential is close to normal across Tasmania for summer.

The latest rainfall outlook for summer (December to February) shows eastern Tasmania is likely to be wetter than average but parts of the West Coast are likely to have less rain.

Bureau of Meteorology Head of Operational Climate Services Dr Andrew Watkin said temperatures are also likely to be higher than average over the next three months across Tasmania.

“The wet outlook for parts of eastern Australia this summer is being driven by a La Nina in the Pacific, the lingering influence of a negative Indian Ocean Dipole and a generally positive Southern Annular Mode.

“A positive Southern Annular Mode during summer can enhance rainfall over the eastern mainland but typically means below average rainfall for western Tasmania. “
The competing influence of our different climate drivers is why summer is likely to be wetter than average in eastern Tasmania but drier than average for parts of the West Coast.”

While bushfire potential is close to normal for early summer, the South-West is being closely monitored for the possibility of increased fire potential if it starts to dry out.

The wet conditions may assist in reducing outdoor water use and overall demand on Tasmania’s drinking water network, however it may also increase the risk of dirty water in catchments and storages.

This is currently the case for the greater Hobart region following heavy rainfall.

TasWater Climate Change Strategy Lead Luc Richard said significant rain events make managing water supplies challenging.

“Wet weather events can impact on the water treatment processes and sometimes requires more intensive treatment to ensure water continues to meet the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” Mr Richard said.

TasWater encourages the mindful use of water all year round. Completed infrastructure upgrades across Tasmania include at the Chimney Saddle water treatment plant in the Launceston.

“We are also working on a number of projects to improve resilience in our water storages and water treatment plants to help maintain Tasmania’s drinking water quality,” Mr Richard said.

For example, the significant Bryn Estyn water treatment plant upgrade near Plenty in the Derwent Valley and upgrades to Upper Reservoir.

“But we have these short-term challenges while we are doing a range of necessary upgrades for the long-term benefit of greater water surety.”

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