Canberra is a long way off water restrictions even though last week's heatwave and a dry start to the year have the bush capital's gardeners reaching for their hoses.
Up to January 20, the ACT has had only one millimetre of rain, far below average and close to our record low for the month.
Last year, Canberra had 73 millimetres of rain in January and 47mm in 2012. The average for the month is 58mm.
Canberra's water usage peaked on Thursday and Friday when we used 272 megalitres each day, our highest since March 2006. The average seasonally adjusted daily consumption rate for the ACT is 170 megalitres.
Despite this, Chris Webb, ACTEW Water acting deputy chief executive, said the ACT would have to experience unprecedented weather to dent the territory's water supplies.
''We have built a system that is resilient, and are in a completely different situation now than we were before the drought in the last decade,'' he said.
With Canberra's dams at 75 per cent full, Mr Webb said he could not see any situation where the ACT would move to water restrictions.
To celebrate Monday's cool change, Kaye Powell took her two grandsons George, 8, and Felix, 5, for a day out at the National Arboretum. Ms Powell said although they had a wonderful day, there was no doubt Canberra truly was a wide, brown land at present.
''It looked as though it could do with a drink,'' she said. ''It needs rain and [Canberra] looks really pretty when it's green. It doesn't look that pretty at the moment.''
The arboretum's general manager, Jason Brown, said the heat has taken its toll on more than just the grass.
''The very dry conditions of the last few months, along with last week's extreme heatwave, has meant some forests are experiencing a degree of stress … while some species have thrived, others haven't adapted as well to the local climatic conditions,'' he said.
While the forests take priority for irrigation, the only water supply is two on-site dams. ''Water availability determines the amount of irrigation … outside of the trees, the amphitheatre and a limited number of garden beds there are no other irrigated areas on site,'' Mr Brown said.
East of Canberra, Palerang Council's acting general manager Bill Ellison headed to Lake George on Monday, where he said there was barely any water to be seen.
''The lake's basically empty,'' he said. ''There's a few patches up the north-eastern end. It's been very hot and dry. We've hardly had a decent shower since November.''
Weatherzone meteorologist Rob Sharpe said this month was on track to be the driest January since 2010, when we experienced just 7mm.
''The main reasons it's been so dry has been the continent as a whole has been quite dry, with not much tropical moisture feeding down,'' he said. ''Also we've seen a dominance of high pressure over the Canberra area followed by the heatwave, which generally doesn't bring much in the way of rainfall.''
Canberra's record low rainfall was just 1.1mm for the entire month in January 1947.
As a consequence of the low rainfall and high temperatures last week - a special climate statement issued by the Bureau of Meteorology noted Canberra set a record with four consecutive days of 39 degrees - Canberra's water use has soared.
Over the past week the ACT used about 1730 megalitres of water, up from 1422 megalitres in the previous week.
Mr Sharpe said temperatures were unlikely to hit 40 degrees for the rest of the month.
Canberra could expect between 5mm and 15mm of rain on Friday and Saturday. ''There's a fair bit more moisture over the nation as a whole at the moment, which bodes well for better falls than recently in the Canberra area,'' he said.
''Friday's the day for taking the umbrella to work.''
with Fleta Page