21 September 2007

Stanhope tells us our water plans are OK.

| Joe Canberran
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The Chief Minister John Stanhope released this morning this media release welcoming:

…the release of the eWater Co-operative Research Centre’s final environmental report on ACTEW’s proposed Water Purification Scheme. The report, Indirect Potable Use and Expansion of the Cotter Reservoir – Stage 2 Environmental Risk Assessment, indicates that any issues identified in the environmental risk assessment can be satisfactorily mitigated using known technologies and protocols.

Note that this is the FINAL report which, according to Stanhope’s media release, is:

…available at www.thinkwater.act.gov.au and www.actew.com.au.

but for some reason and after extensive searches the closest I can find is the May 2007 preliminary issues discussion paper. Slow web-monkeys or is Stanhope jumping the gun a little?

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I was sorta hoping someone would reply to my post above.

It’s important because it lets you spin things like, “It is almost certain this good event will occur and it is highly unlikely this bad event will occur,” when they included 15% of things in the good and only 1% of things in the bad. If they included 15% of things in the bad, it wouldn’t read as well because they would have to say unlikely instead of highly unlikely.

Of course, the opposite applies too, so the method may in fact be valid. Anyone know?

A plan would be to make it a building requirement for every new house to be built with a water storage capacity and solar heating as Canberra standard.

They will bitch, they will moan, they will build it, and pass the costs onto consumers.

The ironic thing is, when you are paying 300k+ for a house, you kind of expect it to have these kinds of flash addons anyway.

I know something about risk assessment, I did it for 20 years, but not much about public risk methodology.

There is a table (extract):

Risk Likelihood Level Definition Likelihood Range
1 Highly unlikely May occur only in very exceptional circumstances less than 1%
2 Unlikely Unlikely to occur in most circumstances 1-20%
3 Possible May occur in some circumstances 21-49%
4 Very likely May occur in most circumstances. 0-85%
5 Almost certain Expected to occur in most circumstances greater than 85%

They are either using a skewed bell curve (which should be explained in the report but isn’t), or they’re doing something statistically I don’t get.

The Highly Unlikely outcome is assigned to events with a less than 1% probability, yet the Almost Certain outcome has a probability of greater than 85%; a 1% range for one, and a 15% range for the other, yet they are opposite sides of the same coin.

I’m not accusing them of misleading because I don’t know if public risk uses normal distribution, poisson or what. Any comments?

…and if he’s wrong, he’s always the first one to admit it!!!! 🙂

Our Jon jump the gun? No way! He is famous for giving the most careful consideration to issues after taking account of all community input. It is just coincidence that the right outcome always turns out to be the one he decided upon in the first place ……..

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