Parts of Australia have recently experienced the lowest rainfall on record since 1900. For a period of six years from 2001 to 2007 drought affected southern and eastern Australia in a broad arc extending across southern South Australia, most of Victoria and New South Wales (NSW), and a large part of southeast Queensland. Storages across the country, particularly in the Murray and in South East Queensland were at record lows. In the former, storages were at 13 per cent capacity in mid 2007. An established La Nina event in December 2007 and January 2008 brought heavy rainfall across the eastern states, especially in Queensland. However long-term deficiencies remain, especially in Tasmania, southeast Queensland, the southwest coast of Western Australia (WA) and central Victoria into southern NSW.
Most of the cities in Australia are subject to water restrictions. The most severe is in southeast Queensland. In September 2007 householders in the fastest growing region in Australia were imposed with Level Six water restrictions. Households which use more than 800 litres a day of water were asked to file a water usage audit report to provide information on their household, water use and water efficiency. Certain types of water use will be banned. The target is for individuals to use no more than 140 litres a day. Tough penalties apply for households using excessive amounts of water. This includes an outdoor watering ban, fines up to $1050 and restricted flows.
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