Cutting Water Use
The new climate.
Clearly South-East Australia cannot continue to use water as it does now, let alone how it has in the past.
- Water Taxes - with all revenue used help abolish Income Tax for farmers and increase the Tax Free Threshold for everyone else. Note that the Eco Tax Rebate means pensioners and the unemployed are not disadvantaged by this measure.
- Logging Taxes - We support higher taxes on logging that properly reflect the economic value of native forests as water sources & carbon stores as well as the ecological and recreational values.
- Replacing Coal Power - Victoria's coal power stations use one-third of Melbourne's water consumption. "Clean coal" would use even more.
- Water Tanks - Large scale roll out of heavily subsidised or free water tanks as a cheaper alternative to environmentally disastrous desalination plants.
- Gray Water Systems - Increase in subsidies for these systems as an alternative to desalination plants.
- Bass Straight Water Pipe - Based on overseas experience with undersea gas and oil pipes at depths of up to 1 km, a pipe could be built across Bass Straight to deliver water to Cardinia Reservoir for about $3 Billion. This would allow the Thompson River water to be diverted to north of the divide and hence the Murray River.
- Recycled water - waste water is now treated to such an extent that it is drinkable - and is then flushed out to sea. This water should be cycled back to the reservoirs.
- Use of Aquifers - greater use of aquifers for storage of storm water and sustainable re-use is possible in Melbourne.
- Crop Substitution - replacing cotton, rice and wood chips with Industrial Hemp, Kangaroo and possibly Jatropha. (See Rural & Regional). We support outright purchase of large-scale irrigation farms and their water rights or payments to fund conversion of these farms to less water-intensive agriculture.
No Desalination! No North-South Pipeline!
- The Victorian North-South pipeline that is supposed to take water from the empty Eildon reservoir to Melbourne.
- The Victorian Desalination Plant that will be the most environmentally destructive and expensive way of obtaining water for Melbourne.
These projects should be replaced by rolling out water tanks, use of recylced water and use of aquifers.
If they are completed, the desalination infrastructure may be able to be used filtering storm or waste water rather than salt-laden sea water. The North-South pipeline can serve no useful purpose and should be broken up.
Impacts on Agriculture
The big increase in tax paid on irrigation water (offset with removal of Income Tax on farm income) would lead to a huge reduction in water used on Australian farms. This translates into much higher environmental flows for our rivers.
"Hemp can be grown in two months, does not require herbicides or pesticides and uses a fraction of the water compared with cotton. Hemp can produce four times as much pulp per hectare than trees and can produce over 50,000 products including paper, plastics, cosmetics, clothing, food, fuel, wood products and medicine." ( Green Hemp Australia)
Your Water-Your Say
Detailed analysis of Victoria's water problems and why Melbourne doesn't need the desal disaster.
Plug The PipePlug The Pipe web site.
Detailed information on the Victorian project to pump water from the near-empty Eildon Reservoir to Melbourne.
Water savings mirage
5th Apr 2010: "The Brumby government's $2 billion dollar Food Bowl Modernisation Project, used to justify taking 75 gigalitres for Melbourne from the already stressed Murray Goulburn Basin, was based on a premise so absurd it amounted to a lie." more...
More water for coal?
28th Jul 2009: "Latrobe Valley power generators already use about 125 billion litres of water each year - equivalent to one-third of Melbourne's annual consumption - and have asked the Government for improved access to dams and groundwater." more...
28th Jul 2009: An article by Dr Peter Fisher on the more energy efficient thermal desalination option that use waste heat from gas power stations. more....
Water folly continues
3rd Jul 2009: Ken Davidson's analysis on the water minister's claim that recycling would be more expensive than the desal plant. more....
Less Logging, More Water
10th Jun 2009: An ACF investigation has found that ending logging in the Goulburn's wet mountain forests alone could deliver an additional 3,800 gigalitres into the Goulburn River.
6th Oct 2008: More on the project to pump water from the near - empty lake Eildon to Melbourne from Ken Davidson. more....
27th Aug 2008: Water expert Peter Coombes on water tanks. more....
Bass Straight Pipe
Desalination not a solution to water crisis
14th Nov 2006: "Environment groups have calculated that the same amount of water as the proposed desalination plant could be saved if 25 % of Victorian households had an 2000 - 3000 litre rainwater tank plumbed for use to the toilet, laundry and garden." more...