The Canberra Times has a story on the ACT’s responses to the great Googong water theft.
Raising the wall on the Cotter Dam is something that should have been done long ago but let’s not quibble. (Building a new dam in the Naas Valley now cannot be done because it’s a Liberal policy).
The enthusiasm for recycled water, however, puzzles me (aside from letting Jon Stanhope show us how powerful he is, yippee we get to be consulted before he does what he was going to do anyway, one ballot every four years for the supreme leader!).
Currently the good folk of Gundagai (and numerous other towns down the Murrumbidgee and eventually Murray Rivers) drink our recycled water without apparent harm, so no question it’s not a big deal.
But, er, currently the good people of Gundagai drink that water… and seem rather attached to living. Are we planning here for a situation where we cut off the environmental flows in the Murrumbidgee River?
UPDATED: The ABC has an interesting point from Richard Mulcahy.
Projected cost of drinking our own pee: $350,000,000 (side-effect: murdering residents of towns downstream)
Projected cost of building new dam: $160,000,000 (side-effect: kills lots of trees and fluffy animals in a valley 99% of Canberrans have no intention of ever visiting but might if there was a dam there)
ANOTHER UPDATE: A follow up piece in the Canberra Times shows the debate at the top is no more sensible than it is down here. I note that all parties are ignoring economics in this, which is almost always a tragic mistake when issues of supply, demand, and resource allocation are at the heart of the matter.