Tourists make Coast water hungry
THE Sunshine Coast has been bingeing on water over the past two weeks while Brisbane residents remained conservative despite lifted restrictions to allow for cleaning-up after the dust storm.
But it is not residents of the Coast who have been letting the taps flow, rather it is the influx of tourists over the school holiday period who have been the main cause for rising water consumption, Sunshine Coast Water manager for planning and sustainability Michael Lukin said.
Consumption figures released by the Queensland Water Commission showed Coast residents consumed 303 litres each day on average for the week ending Friday October 2.
During the same time Brisbane, Logan and Moreton Bay proved thrifty using an average of 172 litres a day.
The Gold Coast, which had restrictions lifted in January, was also far better than the Coast with an average daily consumption of 247 litres.
In the week before, during the height dust storm clean-up, Coast residents consumed an average of 273 litres a day, while Brisbane consumed 150 litres and the Gold Coast 209 litres.
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Mr Lukin said the Coast water figures were the highest in all of South East Queensland because of the large number of school holiday tourists and because residents have not been trained to limit their water use - unlike Brisbane and the Gold Coast that have experienced restrictions.
"The Sunshine Coast is not on water restrictions and has never been on restrictions so we tend to use more water."
Mr Lukin said he did not believe that Coast residents were individually consuming 303 litres of water each day.
"There are many people here on holidays which makes it a whole lot more than typically live here. During holiday periods consumption per capita goes up, but does it mean we are using more per person? I doubt it," he said.
Another cause for the rise in water consumption was the dust storm on September 22 and the continuing dry conditions, Mr Lukin said.
"We were using about 220 litres per capita per day (during September), with the dust storm that would have gone up."
Brisbane, Logan and Moreton Bay had their water restriction lifted for nine days following the dust storm but they still managed to keep under the 200 litre target for the week ending September 25.
While the Gold Coast, which has no water restrictions and lots of tourists exceeded the daily consumption target by nine litres.
Sunshine Coast Council environment portfolio chairwoman Keryn Jones said Sunshine Coast residents' lax attitudes to water use would need to change.
"Sunshine Coast residents have been shown to be high water users in comparison to regional averages," Ms Jones said.
"It seems that there is a general attitude that because our dams are full and we haven't had harsh water restrictions that we don't need to be as active in day-to-day water conservation
"But the Sunshine Coast is part of South East Queensland's water grid now and the water stores on the Sunshine Coast contribute to the regional supply and the regional drought strategy," she said.
From December 1 the Coast will be moving onto Permanent Water Conservation Measures, a change welcomed by Cr Jones.
That will mean gardens won't be able to be watered between 10 am and 4pm.
Outside of those hours gardens and lawns can be watered using a bucket, hand held trigger nozzle hose or an efficient irrigation system.
From December 1 vehicles, buildings and equipment can only be cleaned using a bucket, hand-held trigger nozzle hose or a high pressure cleaner.
All water use activities will have to be managed within the target 230 limit.
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