Water Week

EWN Publishing

Improved dam catchments, recycling stormwater, desal problems not addressed properly in WA water-use debate, says Nationals MP

Posted by waterweek on 17 October 2007

Reducing water use was much more complicated than relatively small initiatives such as more efficient showers and toilets, said Murray Criddle, National Party, in the Legislative Council of Western Australia (4/9/2007).

The bigger picture: “One important issue is that the water targets that have been set in Perth are higher than the targets that have been set in Sydney and Melbourne. However, it is one thing to set a target for water and for the environment. It is another thing to achieve a reduction in those targets. It is all very well to reduce the use of water for showers and for toilet systems. However, such a reduction will go only a small way towards addressing the overall need to reduce the amount of water that is consumed.

Recycling issue: “A number of issues need to be addressed. One issue is recycling. About 100 gigalitres of stormwater flows into the ocean annually from the metropolitan area. That water could be put back through the system. Recycled water could also be put back through the system. That water could be piped into our industrial areas to help relieve the pressure that is placed on the supply of fresh water. About 40 gigalitres of water is used in the Gingin area to water trees in the horticultural industry. The Allanooka reserve in Geraldton is used for a variety of reasons, not all of which are absolutely essential.

Dam catchments: “If we could achieve efficiencies in these areas, it would make a substantial difference in ensuring that we use our water in the best possible way. Of course, we could also clear the catchment areas around dams to increase the amount of water that flows into the dams. That is the case particularly with Wellington Dam, where Mr Peter Coyne has suggested ways of purifying some of the run-off from the dams and using that water for irrigation.

Desalination issue: “Another issue is desalination. The government has just opened the new $400 million desalination plant. I understand that the next plant will cost about $1 billion. However, electricity is required to run those desalination plants that the green movement is asking for, and that will have an impact on the environment. A range of issues need to be addressed. It is not just a matter of fixing the water supply; it is a matter of getting the balance right across the whole environment. Yes, we can talk about these things. However, when governments come to make decisions on these matters, those decisions need to be balanced and take into account all the issues that I have mentioned. We need to focus on those things and have the courage to put them in place if we want to achieve efficiencies in the system itself,” Criddle added.

Reference: Murray John Criddle, National Party of Australia, Legislative Council, Western Australia, 4 September 2007: on Water Resources, South West, Urgency Motion

Erisk Net, 4/9/2007

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