Drought, rain, water & pollies – part 3

Continuing from part 2.

5. Grace and favour

State governments are COMPLETELY to blame for handing out water permits to irrigators. This has been going on for many, many years. It was a great way to curry favour with the farm lobby groups: you want a water license? No worries mate! Pump away.

No consideration has been given to capacity – until maybe a few years ago.

NSW and Victoria are especially notable in this regard. Everybody down river suffers – and rivers don’t respect state borders.

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6. Recycling water

The troglodytes in Toowoomba voted against recycling water. What a bunch of short-sighted NIMBY idiots. You may all end up wallowing in your own poo, rather than drinking it.

And to the local government people in Toowoomba who took this to a referendum: why did you do this? Why not just make a decision and do something? Instead you allowed emotional manipulation and blackmail to be used, and look at the silly result. Government is elected to govern. That includes hard decisions. Make them, and suffer the consequences. You are elected to do what’s right, not what’s popular.

In South Australia we have been using a large amount of water from the river Murray for many years. Guess where the effluent from all the river towns goes? Back in the river! We’ve been drinking recycled sewage for 30 years, and last time I looked there were not many people here with 2 heads and 3 arms.

Better use and recycling are sensible – but it will cost money. You need to treat the sewage to get it potable. We’ve been doing this in South Australia as well – for over 40 years, and we now recycle about 20% of the sewage. The rest is lovely and clean and we dump it out to sea, which is silly. But out 20% is a damn sight more than is done anywhere else.

And what is the recycled effluent used for? In South Australia – watering parks and gardens, and for market gardeners to grow the vegetables we eat.

7. Build cities where the water is

We have cities where the climate is nice (well, generally. Sydney in December does not really count as “nice”). We keep expanding them, and all these cities have small water catchment areas. We’ve been building over the fertile soils and market gardens, increasing the demand of these cities.

Yet to the north of Australia we have vast amounts of water. Something like 70% to 80% of the water that falls on the continent is in the far north, where it is not used for anything much.

Why do we continue to grow the large cities we all currently live in? Because that’s what we have always done. Not a very good reason, really.

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Next part coming soon.

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