Today is World Environment Day and this year’s theme, ‘Time for Nature’, is reflective of the impacts we have felt due to our changing climate in the last 12 months alone, not only here in Canberra but across our nation.
“The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature.
Yet, these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message:
To care for ourselves we must care for nature.
It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To raise our voices.
It’s time to build back better for People and Planet.
This World Environment Day, it’s Time for Nature.”
This World Environment Day is an opportunity to not only consider the impacts of climate change, but also the steps we can take to adapt to our changing planet so that we can improve our Australia today, and contribute to creating a better world for future generations.
Managing Canberra’s water and wastewater services, Icon Water is not only working to limit their effect on climate change, but is conscious of their responsibility to respond to the ongoing environmental impacts resulting from climate change, to protect Canberra’s vital resources, and has today launched their own Climate Change Adaptation Plan.
Icon Water Manager Environment and Sustainability Ben Bryant says, “Like many businesses, we recognise the need to reduce our energy consumption, curb our greenhouse gas emissions and limit our contribution to climate change”.
“Our business relies on weather and the water cycle and the impact of climate change can have varying effects on our operations and assets, so it’s important that while we work to reduce our carbon footprint, we also have plans in place to adapt to climate change,” Bryant said.
It’s been a challenging period recently for the ACT region, culminating in the past 12 months with record-breaking temperatures and drought, compounded by bushfires and smoke across the South-East of Australia, including our very own Namadgi National Park.
“We’re seeing temperatures warming and changes to our rainfall patterns, as well as a rise in extreme fire weather and an extension of the fire season. This past year alone has seen changes to the way we plan and adapt to fire and drought.”
Climate change is happening now. Australia’s climate has already reached 1 degree Celcius above pre-industrial levels.
“We’ve been working closely with areas of our business to develop a plan that will build our resilience to existing and future climate change, while continuing to make improvements and efficiencies to reduce our carbon footprint,” Bryant said.
With several of the driest years on record, and neighbouring towns facing water restrictions over the last 12 months, water security has been front of mind for many Canberrans. While the ACT’s dams have increased slightly with recent rain, we still need to be conscious of our water use.
In adapting to the impact of the changing climate on the ACT’s water security, Icon Water is committed to continuing to work with our partners and the community through education and water conservation programs to reduce the stress on our local catchments
Beyond water security, the Climate Change Adaptation Plan identifies 59 actions that the water utility can take to improve resilience over the next three years. With immediate attention focused on the following key themes:
- continuing to work to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency through emission reduction programs
- working with the community and supply chain to help prepare for and adapt to impacts of climate change
- ensuring infrastructure can withstand changing climate conditions now and in the future
- participating in and monitoring relevant research to ensure Icon Water’s adaptation program keeps up with best practice.
While we must continue to plan to adapt to climate change, Icon Water is committed to and will continue to work to reduce their carbon footprint and is encouraging the Canberra community to commit to making small changes too. If we all do our bit, we can make a huge difference to the future of this beautiful country. Find out how you can be part of the solution to reduce climate change.
For more information see Icon Water’s Climate Change Adaption Plan.