Dams go down – price goes up

asp 26 September 2007 14

In the past few years, Canberra’s water supply has dwindled, affected by fire, drought and increased demand. While water storages are now somewhat stable (hovering around 42-45%) and usage is normally within targets, it’s not time to rest. So what is ACTEW doing to secure our water supply? Building a new dam: No. Building a recycling system: No. Building a device that can turn magic beans into water infrastructure: No. They’re pushing to raise the cost of water, stating “[ACTEW will] be spending a very substantial amount of money on new capital works and there’s been an increase in operating costs.”

Unless those capital works include a new dam, recycling infrastrcture or magic bean conversion device (ok, maybe not the magic bean device), they don’t deserve another cent. Here’s hoping the ICRC agrees.

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14 Responses to Dams go down – price goes up
VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 9:16 am 28 Sep 07

I-filed, it depends on the timeframe they were looking at, as well as the site. Obviously a dam site will need sufficient catchment and inflows to be viable.

JD114 JD114 6:20 pm 27 Sep 07

Water pricing is the most sensible and fairest way to allocate water. A reasonable price up to a normal household’s average consumption, then incresingly draconian prices for large volume users. That way the user can determine if they are happy to spend $2-3 to hose down a driveway, or $2 per shower for long twice daily sojourns under the steaming water etc.

Personally I would like to see a price set for groundwater so that those who had bores also had to pay a certain amount for their use of the community’s resources.

People who live in the country know it is possible to live adequately on as little as 30-40% of what we in the city consider to be a fair amount so pricing water sensibly to limit the attractiveness of wasting it makes more sense than constantly trying to shore up the inadequacies in our current policies.

I-filed I-filed 8:54 am 27 Sep 07

VYBerlina, I think they investigated a huge new dam and decided it would never be able to fill, didn’t they?
What happened to the Shoalhaven dam by the way – same story? No prospect of it ever filling?

asp asp 11:09 pm 26 Sep 07

None on eBay. I’ll try Amazon.

tybreaker tybreaker 7:24 pm 26 Sep 07

Don’t you need a cow to swap for magic beans?

asp asp 6:02 pm 26 Sep 07

Already have.

Jonathon Reynolds Jonathon Reynolds 5:45 pm 26 Sep 07


Instead of just postulating your ideas and conspiracy theories here why not do something positive and constructive by submitting something to the ICRC to consider in their determinations:


In particular refer to : Report 9 of 2007 – Water and Wastewater Price Review

Community involvement:

The Commission is seeking comments from interested parties on the matters raised in this discussion paper and any other issues raised in this series of discussion papers.

To enable the Commission sufficient time to consider the submissions before releasing the draft decision in November 2007, the deadline for submissions is Friday, 19 October 2007.

Submissions, correspondence or other enquiries may be directed to the Commission at the following addresses:

The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission
Level 2 12 Moore Street CANBERRA CITY ACT

The secretariat may be contacted at the above addresses, by telephone on 6205 0799, or by fax on 6207 5887.

The Commission’s website is at http://www.icrc.act.gov.au and its email address is icrc@act.gov.au.

For further information on this investigation or any other matters of concern to the Commission please contact the Commission on 6205 0779.

asp asp 5:29 pm 26 Sep 07

Just to make it clear, I’m not complaining about a rise in the cost of water. It’s only $90 a year after all. But it’s not the first price rise since the drought started, yet they keep pointing to increased costs and capital works. Yet we are yet to see more than baby steps on securing the future of this city’s water.

Ralph Ralph 4:25 pm 26 Sep 07

I was gobsmacked to hear Iemma invoking the climate change devil, as an excuse to impose permanent water restrictions on Sydneysiders, rather than to admit his government’s staggering incompetance in managing Sydney’s water and actually planning for a revamp of water pricing, new dams, desalination etc etc.

Cue for a similar stunt from the ACT Government at some point in the near future.

The problem with succession planning on water is that the glory for such forward thinking will lay at the feet of some future government, who also doesn’t have to bear the cost. So it is politically much easier for them to do nothing, and blame convenient scapegoats like climate change – where we are the point where anybody who claims otherwise gets to be tarred and feathered as a blasphemer, and a crank.

I-filed I-filed 4:22 pm 26 Sep 07

We city folk need to be pretty sensitive in our comments about water – considering that farmers are about to lose permanent plantings of citrus, almonds etc and a world food shortage is a real possibility according to some commentators (feel free to set me right on that!). If slugging us for water costs will help water infrastructure – administered intelligently – then I’m happy to pay up and install a Phoenix Arizona type garden.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 4:17 pm 26 Sep 07

I think we should be building more large scale storage (ie a new large dam), as well as recycling infrastructure. We can then attempt to restore recycled water in our new dam. Also, when we have those periodic wet periods we need to be capturing and storing all that water.

Given that it’s been 30 years since we got a new dam, and we are experiencing huge levels of growth, to not be planning major new infrastructure NOW is crazy.

Ralph Ralph 3:48 pm 26 Sep 07

Full water pricing would solve most of these problems, along with new investment in infrastructure.

The local authorities in the Newcastle area charge through the nose for water, funnily that makes people think twice before they use it, and those who choose to wash cars and boats are slugged for it.

piperdoon piperdoon 3:37 pm 26 Sep 07

come on Ant – how long can we wait to build more storage? Or for that matter recycling facilities (which I agree with). A new Molonglo development announced for 70,000 people with current water storage capcity – any mention of associated storage capacity to meeet the extra demand? No! I don’t want to live in a dust bowl and I ‘bucket’ regularly over summer months from the alundry, have buckets in the shower and kitchen sink etc. I don’t undertsand how they can have it both ways – we use less because we’re told to but then get charged more cos we used less – farcical if it wasn’t painful. Is there anyone in this government (shire council) that lives in the real world????

ant ant 3:02 pm 26 Sep 07

They do need to look at some kind of recycling facility. setting it all up would be pricey, but some way to clean the water and then deliver it back (for irrigation of public playing fields, grass, parks, golf courses etc?) would be the go. having to come up with a secondary piping system is probably what’s preventing it.

Unfortunately, charging more for water is the only way, ultimately, to get people to use it carefully. Some people are profligate. If this “drought” becomes a permanent condition, many things are going to have to change drastically.

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