Water and electricity use surges

DEMAND for water in Bendigo has jumped to its highest level in more than a decade, as people battle to keep cool.

Coliban Water is urging residents to stagger their water use throughout the day to ease pressure on the system.

We're monitoring the treatment plant 24 hours a day - Neville Pearce

At its peak on Tuesday more than 67 megalitres was treated at the Bendigo Water Treatment Plant - the highest daily amount produced at the plant since it came into operation in 2002. 

Coliban Water chief operating officer Neville Pearce said the usage was more than double the weekday average of 32 megalitres.

Mr Pearce said high demand could cause areas of low water pressure in the Bendigo and Castlemaine systems.

Maiden Gully, Marong, Junortoun, Harcourt, Campbells Creek, Yapeen and Guildford could all be affected if water use continued to rise.

The Bendigo Water Treatment Plant has been designed to treat up to 126 megalitres a day.

Demand nearing record levels

Mr Pearce said any decrease in water pressure would be short-term and normal pressure would return when customer demand on the system reduced.

He said the highest levels of water use were recorded between 6pm and 10pm, which was likely a result of people doing their gardening at night.

He said the water network was coping well at the moment but "there's always a risk" that mounting pressure could affect supply.

"We're trying to minimise that risk," he said.

"We're monitoring the treatment plant 24 hours a day. We've also been monitoring storage levels and working to maintain supply to customers."

Meanwhile Bendigo was spared from widespread power outages.

Power disconnections could still occur today after demand exceeded 10,000MW for three consecutive days in Victoria.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has called on residents to manage their usage by turning off non-essential appliances and lowering air-conditioner settings to 21 or 22 degrees. It warned fuel shedding and outages could still occur. 

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