Gardeners are evil: Stanhope

Ari 1 December 2006 68

In his report outlining the latest attempt to bash us on the head with water restrictions, the CT’s Graham Downie includes this interesting snippet.

About 20 years ago, when Canberra’s population was roughly half the present figure, daily summer consumption was about 400ML. The average daily target for this November was 145ML.

Over the past several weeks, consumption has increased from about 152ML to 168ML.

So it seems the Canberra population has responded to water conservation measures to the extent that our current average use (including the recent “expansion”) has dropped 58% from 20 years ago – even though the population has doubled.

Yet we’re still being told we’re profligate – particularly those evil gardeners.

It seems the real failure is that complacent government has used this long-term trend to avoid having to do anything about securing additional supply and is now being blindsided by extended drought.


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68 Responses to Gardeners are evil: Stanhope
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Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 12:44 pm 04 Dec 06

No need for the snark, JB – I just asked if it was true, and explained how I had read a part of a report. Thanks to Ari and shauno for the clarification on what was meant by the word “exporter”.

Ari Ari 12:39 pm 04 Dec 06

As the Actew site notes, Googong (Queanbeyan River catchment) has been regarded as part of the ACT system since 1909, but even excluding it the ACT is still a net exporter.

shauno shauno 12:25 pm 04 Dec 06

Or aren’t we now pumping cotter catchment water into gogong? which is in nsw

shauno shauno 12:22 pm 04 Dec 06

I guess sonic might have ment via the catchments. As in more water originates in the ACT in the Brindys to flow in to NSW then what comes down the Murrumbidgee. Might be true to as more the 90% of the head waters is diverted now into ecumbene.

Ari Ari 12:16 pm 04 Dec 06

From ACTEW’s own website.


“Even during periods of drought, the ACT is still a net exporter of water to NSW. Indeed that remains the case, even if the Queanbeyan and Molonglo rivers flows into the ACT were not counted as part of ACT runoff (which they have been since 1909), but as NSW inflows.”

From the same page:

“ACTEW has previously determined that additional water storages were not needed until about 2017 and planning for this need would have commenced around 2007. However, recent scientific information on climate variations, climate change and natural disaster events the bushfires of January 2003 and the worst drought in our climatic records, have required this position to be reviewed.”

johnboy johnboy 12:14 pm 04 Dec 06

You have heard of the Murrumbidgee River right?

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 12:05 pm 04 Dec 06

The ACT is a net exporter of water to NSW – i.e. more water leaves the ACT than enters it from NSW – Sonic said so just last week.

Is this true? The final ACT Future Water Option report says that “While no cross-border supply has occurred as yet, it is possible that Yass (population approximately 5000) could be supplied as early as 2008. There are currently no plans to supply water to other areas, however this could eventuate in the future.” I took this to mean that the ACT doesn’t supply water to NSW.

Incidentally, I recommend the reports for those who’d like an informed view from experts, so you too can roll your eyes when people say “just build another dam”. You’re never, ever going to have a gold-plated water supply in the ACT, and the cost and damage isn’t worth it anyway. You will always have periodic water restrictions, and while water tanks might help you keep a green lawn in the meantime, they’re not going to solve our long-term potable water problems, or the looming national water crisis.

Bugalugs’ and boomacat’s views are intriguing to me, and I would like to subscribe to their newsletters.

seepi seepi 7:12 pm 03 Dec 06

Yep – tiered already. But the same initial allowace for every household, regardless of the number of occupants. And the first tier is no longer free – it is charged at the former ‘excess water’ rate i think, and the tier above that goes up a bit.

Mr_Shab Mr_Shab 6:29 pm 03 Dec 06

Dunno about you Miz, but I grow my veggies in dirt. Shit too. You might think you’re experiencing some profound connection with nature by growing your own spuds, but you’re not.

Don’t we already have a tiered system? Don’t you get an initial allowance for free, and have to pay more for “excess” water usage? Correct me if i’m wrong – Mrs Shab pays the bills in our house…

Pandy Pandy 12:49 am 03 Dec 06

Jesus F! Just back from Manuka and one of those new swank apartment buildings opposite the Oval was watering the nature strip at midnight! Who do I dob this blatant act of bastardry to?

BTE Went to Old Parliament House on Friday night. 1st time ever. What a meat market!

equalitarian equalitarian 7:01 pm 02 Dec 06

JB, Buggalugs, thumper et al. are all correct to some degree. If Canberra/Australia is to sustain increasing (or even existing) water usage, all strategies must be implemented.
Equitable pricing, better re-use strategies, storage and recycling, de-sal, runoff capture (my hobby horse), domestic storage rebates, neighborhood grey/storm water retention and re-use facilities, etc.etc
But not in some dopey political ad-hoc deal. A sensible, strategic bi-partisan effort is needed. Dream on.

shauno shauno 6:28 pm 02 Dec 06

Its laughable really isn’t it. $1.30 for 1000L hehe. Has some one actually turned off the realism switch in this country or what?

And how the hell do I start up a business selling bottled ionized tap water for $3 a L the mind boggles at the profit margins.

miz miz 6:13 pm 02 Dec 06

And your tiered pricing example is . . .?

PS ‘value’ is not always an economic unit.

PPS Dirt? DIRT??? I grow my vegies in ‘soil’ with added ‘composted material’ in my ‘garden’! No ‘dirt’ to be seen!

johnboy johnboy 5:47 pm 02 Dec 06

The value is $1.30 per thousand litres, and yet we’re introducing rationing.

Only a complete moron would think that was a sensible policy position.

You don’t grow your vegetables in dirt?

Of course i do things for my economic advantage. A government not populated by idiots makes sure that the full costs to society are included in the economic factors.

miz miz 5:27 pm 02 Dec 06

The stats quoted by Mr Downie show that we all do value water. And it’s perfectly reasonable to want to utilise water for something practical like growing food, even if you don’t value that JB.
When you use language like ‘dirt’ you are showing that you don’t care for gardening. While you are entitled to your opinion, it’s not fair of you to get on your high horse about other people’s reasonable entitlement to want to manage one’s own bit of space in practical and/or aesthetic ways.
And are you saying that YOU never do anything that works to your economic advantage? I doubt if there is a single person on the planet that could deny trying to make their money work for them, so don’t lecture me either, sunshine.
And for the record I would be perfectly happy to use stormwater/recycled water for my garden of the infrastructure were there.
Your ‘tiered system’ is just a theory. I doubt governments would be bothered to manage such a complicated system as it is far easier and cheaper for them to just bill on household consumption – which I think is what Kennett introduced in Vic (though happy for someone more informed to correct me on this).
If you can show actual EVIDENCE of a place where tiered charges on water is working and effective, I am happy to stand corrected. Otherwise it’s just bs and you are talking through your theoretical arse.

johnboy johnboy 4:52 pm 02 Dec 06

So you want to waste drinking standard water on your dirt for your own economic advantage and not repay the community the real cost of the water for that?

And then you dare to lecture us about social equity.

As stated above (if you could do that reading thing) a fair system would include a larger water allocation for houses with more people living in them.

Over and over and over we go.

miz miz 4:45 pm 02 Dec 06

No need to be patronising. My point is this – which I think is valid, even if you don’t – I could save some of my hard-earned money by growing my own vegies, something which would not be possible if I had to ration water just for hygiene and little else, because of some new pricing regime. To me this would be unreasonable. I have three children and one adult in the household, which *obviously* equates to four times more than your one person household (assuming you live alone).
My point is, I can do without a car, I can do without ‘nice’, as YOU put it, food (assuming you mean extras over and above the basics for nutrition), I can do without a luxurious house – though housing, like food, clearly is a necessity too. But no one can do without water. It is not a luxury, it is an essential.
This is my point. To hike up the cost will mean that some can hardly afford to wash while others will squander to their heart’s content. This is clearly inequitable. It defeats the purpose of the price hike (which is to cut down usage), because the outcome would be uneven and patchy. In a relatively prosperous place (generally speaking) like Canberra I doubt it would make much difference at all to total water consumption, it would just be in effect a tax on water, and the monies would just go into consolidated revenue like the emergency services levy.
It is also obvious that water charges are calculated according to household usage, which also may be inequitable to larger households.
I too feel as if I am having to spell out the bleeding obvious, if you must know.

johnboy johnboy 3:20 pm 02 Dec 06

So’s food Miz.

And we’re talking about tiered pricing (if you’d bothered enough to, or were capable of reading the comments that have formed this debate).

Do you get a basic free food allowance?

No, you’re given a minimum income and credited with the basic intelligence to make your own decisions about how to allocate your meagre resources (assuming you’re totally reliant on social welfare in our worst case scenario).

So as water rates are paying to have lovely potable water delivered free to your taps, why not charge a reasonably recovery fee for use over the basic to maintain life and hygiene.

And why do i have to keep repeating myself like a broken record?

I think it is no coincidence that those opposed to sane water pricing are also poor at reading comprehension.

miz miz 3:11 pm 02 Dec 06

Water is a basic necessity, unlike owning a car, eating out, living in a ‘better’ (bigger? more prestigious?) house. Apples and oranges.

seepi seepi 12:06 pm 02 Dec 06

Rich people have more stuff – we get it.
But there are limits – people who are not well off still get homes, schooling, medical and food.
I think they should retain the right to a patch of green. Think of it as a health investment.

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