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Drought or climate change – will you save water this winter?

By housebound - 13 August 2009 15

Here’s one to start an argument. The ABC tells us that inflows into the ACT water supply dams are 90% below the long term average.

The ABC pins it all on rainfall, but the propensity of regenerating forest to guzzle it wouldn’t help.

So what are Canberrans going to do now about saving water? Is there any point in even trying if industry, our limited horticulture, the public service, commerical/retails buildings and the Arboretum continue on their merry way?

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
Drought or climate change – will you save water this winter?
backlash 9:47 pm 15 Aug 09

I’m a bit suss when it comes to recycled water, just in case I boil my water

monomania 5:54 pm 15 Aug 09

This is all bullshit. Look at ActewAGL’s dam level table. We are within 2% of the volume we had stored at the same time a year ago even with low inflows due to the drought and a catchment that was destroyed because of gross stupidity. Plain fact is we are saving water. Lots. Our use is 35% lower than what we used to use per head of population a decade ago. Some of it is restrictions but a lot of it is people making a real effort.

crankymum 6:32 pm 14 Aug 09

hmm… someone else’s garden to play with…. I could go for that!

Look, twenty-odd years ago when I was a raving Greenie, everyone older than 27 thought there was absolutely no point in attempting to save energy by exploring alternative means of energy – now we have major car producers with hybrids on the road!

In fact, there were numerous ‘alternative’ living choices that were considered childishly optimistic back then, that are now available in mainstream society.

I think we are all moving towards a more balanced world – no need for doom and gloom, embark on a program of small adjustments, and incrementally we can all make a difference.

caf 6:21 pm 14 Aug 09

deye: The ACTEW (as opposed to ActewAGL) site has a graph going back 5 years here.

Jivrashia 4:11 pm 14 Aug 09

crankymum said :

I actually have lots of ideas, but not enough garden…

You’re more than welcome to experiment in my withering garden crankymum…

crankymum said :

Just have resign oneself to losing the green lawn as a mandatory part of the garden…

Still fighting that battle, although it ain’t looking promising… But the spells of rain in the last week or two have helped a bit.

Joshua 1:51 pm 14 Aug 09

Honestly why bother saving water? Politicians and business have no interest in concepts such as carrying capacity as it relates to the Australian continent and will continue to exponentially increase the population until there isn’t enough water to go around anyway.

AG Canberra 12:55 pm 14 Aug 09

There are now two rebates if you install a tank and connect it to a toilet or washing machine. The ACT Gov and the Feds are both offering rebates – and for a 5000l tank the rebates will just about cover the whole cost including the installing of the pipework to a dunny….

Having said that I reckon ‘restriction fatigue’ is going to rear its ugly head this spring and summer….

crankymum 12:52 pm 14 Aug 09

Rawhide Kid No 2 said :

As one old Canberran told me not so long ago. “Do you really want your suburb to look like Aranda during the peak of the Bushfire season or the lawn or Parliament House”. Food for thought?

Now, see – this is where I get all stirred up and excited about designing my garden to be both water-efficient, AND relatively safe from the danger of fire.

So far I have come up with:

Using recycled concrete/brick (Canberra Concrete Recyclers in Pialligo)as mulch; it comes in a number of different sizes and colours.

Using coarse river sand in areas where little feet will potentially be pattering around.

Choosing plants like:
Native Indigo – a very fine-stemmed, fine-leafed bush that is quite lovely.
Prostrate forms of Banksia – can be seen in the Nat Botanical Gdns, a groundcover that is really pleasing.
Dianella – a strappy-leaved native with gorgeous star-shaped blue flowers, that develop stunnning blue berries – andit comes in an indigenous form that can be seen on Black Mountain.
Tea-tree – there are such a variety of them; I love the red-formed dwarf variety, I keep it pruned in a hedge.

I actually have lots of ideas, but not enough garden… Essentially, old-timers just don’t grasp the realities of life. It IS possible to have a garden that is green with growth and clourful with flowers; and relatively safe from fire; and that utilizes every scrap of rainfull to the fullest extent; and can use excess waste water.

Just have resign oneself to losing the green lawn as a mandatory part of the garden…

Rawhide Kid No 2 12:10 pm 14 Aug 09

As one old Canberran told me not so long ago. “Do you really want your suburb to look like Aranda during the peak of the Bushfire season or the lawn or Parliament House”. Food for thought?

housebound 9:52 am 14 Aug 09

deye said :

It’s interesting that ActewAGL only has the dam level data for the last 12 months on it’s website (at least as far as I can see). It would be nice to be able to look at that for however long they have been measuring the levels for.

This is the nearest I can find:
http://www.envcomm.act.gov.au/soe/2007actreport/indicators07/wateruse07#figure1
Note that it adds all ACT water supply dams in together.

The same information for the previous three years is at: http://www.envcomm.act.gov.au/soe/2003actreport/indicators03/wateruse03, but for some reason there was no graph in that report.

crankymum 8:25 am 14 Aug 09

Or, if you can’t afford a new toilet and cistern, New Internationalist have a flush-saver device – it is a bronze gadget that sits inside the cistern and weights the thingummy so that as soon as you take your finger off the button, the toilet stops flushing. Cost is about $10. And I don’t have a linkie, but you could google their site…

Oh, and I am selectively removing the plants in my garden that are under-performing, and replacing them with natives – there are some very interesting new hybrids and grafted natives out now; with a schedule of trimming and maintenance similar to that for the exotics I am utilizing quite an attractive array of hedge, shrub, groundcover, and shade species.

Before the plants go in, I carefully watch the effect the slope of my block has on waterflow patterns; and I have contoured the yard, thus guiding the rainwater into ‘holding’ areas, where it soaks back into the ground within an hour after heavy rainfall. These areas are the ‘irrigation’ for my plantings. These ‘irrigation channels’ also guide my washing-machine waste water back into the garden.

I also have no lawn – I ‘mow’ with a hoe – and have replaced lawn with a variety of mulches: there is nearly a foot of sand covering the area around/under the kids’ trampoline; the heavily trafficed areas of the backyard have coarse river sand to a depth of six inches; the naturestrip has a covering of heavy garden-chippings; I constantly renew the few remaining exotics’ mulches from my chook/rabbit pen; and I have picked up a few rolls of old carpet (for free from carpet laying businesses) and laid them under my clothesline and near the driveway to keep mud and muck down to a minimum – I have tent-pegged the carpet down to keep it in place.

deye 2:21 am 14 Aug 09

It’s interesting that ActewAGL only has the dam level data for the last 12 months on it’s website (at least as far as I can see). It would be nice to be able to look at that for however long they have been measuring the levels for.

sepi 9:30 pm 13 Aug 09

Changing to a more modern toilet cistern will save up to 10litres per flush. There was even a rebate scheme for a while for a cheap plastic cistern. Ugly, but water saving.

Up The Duffy 9:14 pm 13 Aug 09

If its yellow let it mellow, If its brown flush if down.

The kids get it…

And cut sections out if the middle of the neighbors garden hose at night.

Whatsup 8:12 pm 13 Aug 09

I’m thinking about installing a tank…. still thinking ‘tho.

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