250,000 Melbourne Residents Losing Water Due to Logging

Professor David Lindenmayer. (Image: Australian National University)

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 5 million people.

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The researchers say 15,000 megalitres of water is being lost annually and costs $1650 per megalitre 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 that was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, said logging reduces water yield — the amount of water available for use — as regrowing forests consume more of it. Dr. Taylor said:

Dr. Taylor added that 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:

Co-author Professor David Lindenmayer said it was “irresponsible” that Melbourne’s largest and most important water catchment is being logged, adding:

Professor Lindenmayer said most of the trees logged in the Thompson catchment were used to produce paper, saying:

Provided by: Australian National University [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

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