Dry weather reigns supreme

So far this month, Ipswich has had 5mm of rain.

Not much – barely enough to wash the dust off the leaves.

The average January rainfall for Ipswich is 116.9mm. The seven day forecast, which takes us to Sunday the 27th, contains very little chance of rain.

If we get to the end of the month without any more rain, we will have had the driest January in 16 years, when absolutely no rain fell in January 2003.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said there is no significant rainfall expected in coming weeks.

BoM meteorologist David Crock said the seasonal forecast is for warmer than average conditions and less rainfall.

“It is the default setting these days as climate change makes its impact felt,” he said.

“There is an upper ridge of high pressure sitting over eastern Australia which is blocking weather coming from the east or west.

“It is not unusual to have long periods in summer of stable weather and heatwave conditions, but the duration of this event has been quite significant.”

Looking at the seasonal forecast for the months ahead doesn’t bring any comfort either.

“The seasonal forecast for February to April is drier than average conditions as far as rainfall,” Mr Crock said.

An Seqwater spokesman said even though mandatory water restrictions were still a long way off, it was important to remember that South East Queensland was a climate of extremes so it was important for community members to develop good water habits.

“Our dam levels are currently at 74.2 per cent. We were lucky to have unseasonably high rainfall in the autumn period which topped us up for summer,” he said.

“It’s only once our level dips to 70 per cent, which we are still a few months away from, that we would start to increase our water efficiency messaging in getting ready for the possibility of drought.

“It then has to drop all the way to 60 per cent before we start asking for voluntary measures to be put in place.”

Water is a precious resource and with Ipswich experiencing an unprecedented population growth it is always a good idea to be conscious of how much water is being used and how to use less.

“We can’t turn the rain on when and where we need it so we always encourage people to be waterwise,” the Seqwater spokesman said.

Water saving tips

  • Water your garden at dawn to avoid evaporation in the middle of the day and fungal diseases that can occur overnight if you water at dusk.
  • Try to water your garden less frequently, but for longer periods, to encourage deeper root growth.
  • Mulching reduces water evaporation from soil. It can also provide plants with important nutrients and control weed growth.
  • Install water efficient devices and appliances.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Do full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher.
  • Check for leaks. You can lose thousands of litres of water a day without even know it due to underground leaks. Many leaks are underground so you may need to use your water meter to check for leaks at home and in your irrigation system. Fix leaking taps and toilets as soon as possible.
  • Use your pool cover: Pool covers reduce evaporation by about 90 per cent.

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