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Logging in Melbourne's largest water catchment has led to a loss of water equivalent to the amount used by 250,000 people each year, new research from The Australian National University (ANU) shows.
The Thompson water catchment, located to the northeast of the city, is Melbourne's most important, helping supply water to five million people.
Researchers - Megaliters - Water - Megaliter - Almost
The researchers say 15,000 megaliters of water is being lost annually, and costs $1650 per megaliter to replace. Almost all of Melbourne's water comes from a series of linked water catchments, including the Thompson.
Dr. Chris Taylor, who led the research, said logging reduces water yield—the amount of water available for use—as regrowing forests consume more of it.
Amount - Water - People - City - Size
"We're already seeing the amount of water consumed annually by 250,000 people lost—that's the same as a city the size of Geelong," Dr. Taylor said.
"As the population continues to grow, water security is becoming a more urgent issue for Melbourne. In just five years, Melbourne's population has grown by half a million people.
Yields - Percent - Average - Years - Percent
"Water yields are already decreasing. In 2017-2018 it was 16 percent below the average for the last 30 years and 33 percent below the average for much of the last century. Climate change will only exacerbate this trend."
Dr. Taylor added if logging continued, as per current management plans, there would be up to 34 billion liters of water lost from the Thompson catchment by 2060.
Equivalent - Needs - People
"That's the equivalent of the needs of 600,000 people or greater...
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