How much water is lost from logging?
A very significant amount of water is lost when water catchments are logged. This occurs because the thick regrowth that follows logging uses significantly more water to grow than existing forest uses. This water is then not available to the people of Melbourne.
In July 2008, after 16 years of debate and public concern, the State Government finally released hydrology research that looks into the impact of logging for all the Melbourne catchments .
The hydrology research was done as a part of the Water and Wood project and found that logging has a big impact on water output from the catchments both in terms of volume and economic value.
Key findings are:
- l By ending logging in 2009/10, water gained would be equivalent to the annual 16GL water consumption of a city the size of Ballarat (94,000 people)* in 40 years time. This would increase to 40 GL per year over time.
- The hydrology report** recommends that the best option for Melbourne water users is to end catchment logging by 2009/2010 .
- The report acknowledged that this water is very valuable.
Executive summary** :“While these figures may seem small in relation to Melbourne current usage (~480 GL per annum), it might be noted that Melbourne Water is currently spending $100 million on the Tarago Treatment Plant to augment Melbourne’s current water supply system by a comparable 16 GL per annum.”**
** Summary report: Potential impacts of forest management on streamflow in Melbourne’s water supply catchments. (May 2008), Russell Mein.
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