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Australia says some water cuts permanent

: A man shelters from the rain as he passes a giant mural showing the drought-affected Australian outback in Melbourne.

SYDNEY (AFP) - Some water restrictions introduced in Australia's most populous state because of a long-running drought will become permanent because of the threat of global warming, officials said Sunday.

Banned forever will be the practice of hosing pathways and the daytime use of sprinklers to water lawns and gardens.

The New South Wales government said the restrictions would remain in place even when the drought is over and dam levels are at capacity.

"We know that climate change is real, it's here and the changes brought by climate change are going to change the way we use water," state Premier Morris Iemma said.

"With the decline in average rainfalls, an increase in hot days... it means we have to be smarter about how we use water."

Iemma said the restrictions were common sense in Australia, the world's driest inhabited continent.

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