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The Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria (SPASA Victoria ) today announced water would be available for the filling of swimming pools and spas in Stage 3 Water Restrictions.

Advertisements announcing the program will be published in weekend newspapers.

General Manager of SPASA Victoria , Mr Brendan Watkins said, "Whilst Stage 3 Water Restrictions banned the filling of swimming pools from the mains water supply, SPASA Victoria is introducing a privately funded safe clean ground water supply which will be available early in 2007."

Mr Watkins said, "The ground water being supplied by SPASA Victoria would enable people to purchase new pools and top up existing pools without worrying about the Stage 3 Water Restrictions which come into force on 1 January 2007".

"Consumers with contracts signed before or on 17 December 2006 will be able to fill their pools and spas from the tap when completed under the agreed Government Drought Response Plan."

"The banning of filling pools from the mains water system will have little overall impact on water use. The filling of new pools and water used by pool owners in Victoria takes less than .1% of Melbourne's water supply".

"The average pool uses 30,000 litres to fill. A top loading washing machine uses in excess of that amount for an average family annually."

Mr Watkins said that SPASA Victoria supported the Government's water conservation program and understood the emergency situation facing the community. However, it was important to find a solution to protect employment in the industry and to allow people to have the choice to have a swimming pool.

Swimming is a major sporting and health activity with the backyard pool being an icon for Victorian families. The provision of a healthy safe ground water supply will ensure it retains its status, Mr Watkins said.