Our green thumbs have pushed up water usage in south-east Queensland along with our want to recycle as coronavirus restrictions kept us homebound.
- The rise in water use is linked to more people gardening during stay-at-home restrictions
- People are reminded to use water sensibly, as Wivenhoe Dam falls to its lowest level since the Millennium Drought
- Container exchanges also report increases in activity, with some suburbs up 100 per cent year on year
As many of us cleaned, tidied and built new vegetable gardens, water consumption had jumped compared to this time last year, according to Mike Foster from SEQ Water.
“I do think that since we’re all at home, people are getting out in their gardens,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“People are building gardens and vegie patches that we haven’t seen for a very long time, so we’re seeing the outdoor water use increase.”
SEQ Water is asking gardeners to look at the time of day they are watering.
He also reminded people to think about how they were washing their hands.
“It’s important we continue our strict hygiene practices, but it’s like cleaning your teeth — if you’re lathering your hands up, turn your tap off and just use it when you need to wash the soap off.”
Brisbane’s main water supply, Wivenhoe Dam, has seen levels drop to 50.3 per cent.
“It’s not in an overly healthy position, as it’s at its lowest level since the Millennium Drought; this time last year it was sitting at 60 per cent,” Mr Foster said.
Recycling stays strong
Being at home has also seen people become more aware of their recycling habits, with Adam Nicholson from Container Exchange reporting a spike in activity throughout south-east Queensland over the past eight weeks.
Ipswich saw the biggest jump year on year with a 153 per cent increase in container recycling, while Logan and Moreton Bay council areas were both up more than 70 per cent in March.
“We thought that people would stockpile containers, but we didn’t see that, as people kept up with the recycling momentum,” Mr Nicholson said.
He said changes had been made to ensure people could still process their containers while remaining COVID-safe.
“We’ve embraced the change by adding contactless options with bag drops, where people write a label on the bag and then the money goes into their account,” he said.
“There is more usage of the bag drop and we’ve seen more than 10,000 scheme IDs created in the last month.”
While bottle shops have seen an increase in sales, Mr Nicholson said the exchange did not track what type of liquid was in the containers.