Water Crisis

The water crisis in Australia has been pretty bad for a while now. Touted as the worst drought to hit Australia for over thirty years the simple truth of the matter is that we live on the second driest continent after Antartica and our humble population of just on 21 million people cannot be sustained with the level of over abundant usage we inflict on the humble reserves.

If we were to take a good, stark view of ourselves the truth is that most of the country should have been on stage four restrictions over a year ago to minimise the impact on the reservoirs.

However, no political party with their mere four year view of the world wants to take the responsibility of either a long term action plan nor for being seen as placing the “hard word” on the vote… err, citizens.

Now that the crisis has reached critical levels, parties are talking about desalination plants and massive cross-continental dam systems to try and create new fresh water supplies. In other words, short term, headline generating, non-environmental-impact-analysed, multi billion dollar projects that makes them seem like they are doing something … and it will be someone elses problem to deal with the impact on the economy and the environment after they are long gone.

Australians have had it good when it comes to water. Well, actually, those in the metropolitan centers have. Farmers have pretty much always been on the raw end of that stick. The problem is that those in the cities are the largest voting population and the most precious when it comes to concepts like recycled water.

So, when you take all of this into account, it’s not surprising that any long term or outside of the box solutions have not been considered.

If, by some long stretch of the imagination, someone in a government department that is involved with these things is reading, I’m going to give you another solution that would cost about the same as desalination plant but is far more beneficial for all aspects of economy, environment and votes.

It is a two prong approach that involves the de-coupling of the existing plumbing from the resoirvoirs that feeds into the current water supply for residential and commercial properties and having that existing infrastructure supplied by a recycled water plant. A new plumbing system will then be connected to the resoirvoirs with a single pipe and tap connected to each property providing a single source of “clean natural drinking water”.

The big issue here is that people in Australia tend to baulk at the concept of recycled water in regards to drinking it. This resolves that hesitation and allows for a new thinking regime to come into play.

The added bonus is that two pricing regimes can then come into play – a lower priced option for recycled sourced water and a higher rate for the “clean” drinking water.

I’m sure there are other viable options that are along a similar vein that can be considered if the full analysis of cost vs economic trade off vs environmental impact vs voting reaction are taken into consideration especially if the thinking is also extended beyond the next election.

That’s mine for today.


3 thoughts on “Water Crisis”

  1. Recycled water is an option that I see will be required before to long.

    What dropped my jaw was the fact that a considerable percentage of the recycled water in Victoria is being pumped out to sea. OK if there is no other use for it but the western suburbs basin or bore water is almost gone.
    This creates dangerous instabilities in the ground and more hardship on the farmers. Why can’t the recycled water be pumped into the bores?

    Environmentalist complain that desalination planet damage the local habitat because of the warm water with high salt levels close to land. OK put the desalination plants out in Deep Ocean. Have the platform produce it power from solar, wind and tidal. Out in the Tasman straight there is an abundance of all of these.

    Then I have to comment on tank water.

    My garden is growing very well, my cloths are clean and my grass is green. Thank water provides this for me. I have not been able to attach a toilet to a tank YET but this will come. At the moment the water usage for the house is below the average for one person. There are 2 of us living in the house. The number of things that tank water can replace is endless.

    Then there is industry.

    When you look at restrictions that have been applied so far you will notice that the restriction put on to business are few and far between. They are the last to get restriction and they are the biggest users of the water. Why is the government not requiring every industry to reduce their water consumption by 30%. I here the government house put in 2 20,000 litre tanks to help keep there gardens maintained.
    This is not even 5% of there usage. I would suggest that EVER non residential property be required to install tanks equal to there roofline volume and the average annual water usage reducing there total usage by a minimum of 30%. This would have very significant effect on the states water usage.

    When you put all the possible schemes together we can have dramatic effect on the states water usage. This is not just the government responsibility but all of ours, Government, Industry and Residential. It requires all of us to do our part.

  2. Ken,

    Out of curiosity, I’ve heard some people claim that when they put their tanks in and claimed the government rebate, they noticed their water bill came in with an additional surcharge due to the fact that “run off water was being diverted from the dams”.

    Now, regardless of the obvious “wrongness” of that comment, have you noticed said surcharge on your bills?

  3. No.
    Runoff charges are set to rural areas only, but saying that the councils are now upgrading the value of your property because of a water tank being put in and thus charging more rates. I will clarify that this is not all councils. I check the validity of this and found my council did do this so I have not claimed the rebate. It is cheaper in the long run, I estimate saving the rebate in about 5 years.
    On the upper side if they start charge per litre from litre one, which is quite possible tank water will save a lot more money.

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