MORE than halfway through autumn and Ballarat has had less than a quarter of its annual rainfall.
One look at lawns around the city and you will know that it has been dry and one of the big worries is for Ballarat's famed trees, which have changed colour much earlier than normal.
The City of Ballarat's coordinator parks and gardens Daryl Wallis said many of the deciduous trees around Ballarat had dropped their leaves early this year as a way of dealing with the dry weather.
"In the dry weather they drop earlier because leaves produce food for the trees, tree wants to continue to produce for as long as they can, but them dropping their leaves it is a way of them not suffering," he said.
"If you get good years, you can set your clock by them, normally determined as the days get shorter, generally very regular, but in a year like we have now, they drop leaves to reduce their reliance on water."
Mr Wallis said newly planted trees can struggle in dry weather.
"The street trees we have on a two year watering program, generally once you get past the two years they are well established," he said.
"We certainly encourage residents, especially with younger trees to put a couple of buckets of water on a week. At the moment, even the trees that have dropped their leaves, it doesn't hurt to give them a bucket of water at some point."
So far this autumn, Ballarat has received just 21.6mm of rain, down on the usual average total of March and April of 93.2mm.
The first three months of the year officially became the driest ever recorded. For the whole year, just 38mm has fallen, compared to the average to end of April of 176.8mm. Last year - which was also considered very dry - we had received 105mm to this point of the year.
Ballarat's water supply currently sits at 59.7 per cent while Maryborough sits at 55 per cent.
Central Highlands Water managing director Paul O'Donohue said permanent water-saving rules would be in place for at least the next 12 months.
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