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15 January 2009 hits water use out of the park

By johnboy - 16 January 2009 57

Water use appeared to be completely off the chain yesterday with ACTEW reporting usage reaching 194ML over the target of 139ML.

It’s forecast to be nearly 10 degrees cooler today. Does Government need to accept that on truly stinking days the water is going to flow freely?

What’s Your opinion?

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57 Responses to
15 January 2009 hits water use out of the park
chewy14 2:19 pm 16 Jan 09

Are we saying that only rich people should be able to have gardens?

Demand in Canberra is pretty fixed, regardless of price.

Unless we raised prices to levels where some people wouldn’t be able to afford gardens, demand will not change much.

54-11 2:12 pm 16 Jan 09

We’ve now had so many years of water restrictions that people are jack of seeing their gardens and amenity (eg kid’s paddling pools) being taken away, yet the govt is doing very little to ease the situation. In fact, programs like “Live in Canberra” are making the situation worse.

Then there is all the doubt about the efficacy of “environmnetal flows”, where what we are releasing is simply being picked up for virtually nothing by downstream irrigators.

Which brings us back to JB’s point, which is that pricing mechanisms are about the best tool available to the govt.

chrispy 2:09 pm 16 Jan 09

Asking how much water Evap coolers use is like asking how much electricity Airconditioners use. There are hundreds of designs, the installation, location and current temperature, humidity and air pressure all make a difference on the amount of water used. To actually find out an Average usage someone would have to pay for a study to be done. Are there any readers of RA with some money burning a hole in their pocket? (probably due to not having air conditioning)

Holden Caulfield 1:58 pm 16 Jan 09

At least I only watered our garden.

GnT 1:27 pm 16 Jan 09

Well I did my bit for the record – set up a paddling pool for the kids. Put me down for about 20 litres.

Jonathon Reynolds 1:01 pm 16 Jan 09


aidan said :

Properly designed evap coolers don’t use lots of water.

Really? You wouldn’t happen to have manufacturers the specifications available?

My Comments from:

Jonathon Reynolds said :

I was wondering what impact that evaporative cooling systems were having on water consumption.
Surprisingly Australian information (from the manufacturers especially) on the actual water usage of these units appears to be quite scant, perhaps non existent (or I’m not Googling it right).

I did find the following paper from a joint project by Yarra Valley Water and the Water Services Association of Australia that describes a study into Evaporative Water Cooling systems (December 2005). In this report they found that the average daily usage of water per domestic unit was 216L/day, or 18.8KL/annum (for Melbourne on their test sample)

According to figures from the ABS (March 2008), there are 25,900 evaporative coolers in the ACT
4602.0.55.001 Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation, Mar 2008

On this basis alone (assuming that the figures for Melbourne could actually be directly applied to the ACT, which is doubtful given that we have different climatic conditions)

By Extrapolation Evaporative Cooling Water usage for the ACT would be:
25,900units x 216L (Melbourne Avg) = 5,594,400L/Day (Approx 5.6ML)

This of course doesn’t take into consideration Evaporative Water Cooling units that sit on virtually every large office block and most commercial buildings.

If we really want to be consistent about the need to “conserve” water, there is a valid case for mandating minimum efficiency standards for these units. (In fact that is something the Federal Government should be doing for equipment on a whole range of fronts).

If the water use of these units is as high as the scant information I can find indicates, there may even be a for having these systems metered separately (think: provision of off peak electricity). Then water usage for cooling purposes could be charged at a differential rate.

jakez 12:41 pm 16 Jan 09

johnboy said :

The whole things brings us back to pricing water seriously and leave people free to make their own decisions.

Yep Johnboy is right.

You could even have a tier system for equity purposes.

Gungahlin Al 12:36 pm 16 Jan 09

3-part solution:

1/ JB’s consumption-based differential pricing (ACT Gov role via ACTEW).
2/ Energy and water star ratings on the units themselves (AGO’s role).
3/ Requirement on retailers of such units (are you reading this ACTEW shop??? Could be mandated via ACT Govt) to provide information to purchasers on consumption and water capture/reuse options.

Thumper 12:35 pm 16 Jan 09

What JB said..

aidan 12:30 pm 16 Jan 09

Properly designed evap coolers don’t use lots of water. We have a Breezair that recycles the water until it gets too concentrated and then it dumps it and fills up again. This happens every few days as far as I can tell.

Clearly it is using water all the time, evaporation is a clue here, but not alot. The bonus is we use bugger all electricity (didn’t even notice it on the bill). Restricting their use would mean more people get refrigerative units that use heaps of (coal-fired) electricity. This would be bad.

I do know someone that installed an evap cooler and then installed a tank just to catch all the water that came out of it. Don’t know the brand of that cooler. Clearly some sort of minimum standard of water use is required if it doesn’t exist already.

johnboy 12:26 pm 16 Jan 09

The whole things brings us back to pricing water seriously and leave people free to make their own decisions.

Danman 12:16 pm 16 Jan 09

why aren’t these units subject to water restrictions

To what alternative ?

Yeah lets ban people from using aircon on hot days?

Odds and evens.

get to know your neighbour day ?

Just not feasable.

Sure they use heaps of water but so do car washes, industry, infrastructure etc.

Banning them or regulating their use will have negligible effect compared to industrial water use, it will just creat a majority of tired and emotional people.

Whats the alternitive ?

Refridgerant based aircon that generates a bigger greenhouse gas footprint in electricity use ?

Damned if you do and damned if you dont.

Maybe we could start hinhabiting canberras underground spaces for summer eh p1 ?

barking toad 12:07 pm 16 Jan 09

I don’t have an evaporitive cooler.

But I did my bit towards the record by hosing down the bricks and pavers.

OzPhoenix 12:04 pm 16 Jan 09

hmmm, so how come on this page ACTEW report water use was 184.7ML? What is going on here? Where is the ~10ML difference occuring?

Jonathon Reynolds 12:03 pm 16 Jan 09

I’d like to see ACTEW stump up with some real figures regarding the contribution that evaporative water coolers make to the total equation … I think they are definitely a factor on “hot” days, and if this is the case why aren’t these units subject to water restrictions?

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