31 August 2006

The rains have failed again

| johnboy
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The Canberra Times informs us that unless September makes with the rain we’re going back into water restrictions.

Because bossing people around is so much more fun than sane water pricing.

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I already have a fondue set. Can I sell it back to the salary sacrificing company in order to salary sacrifice it back to me ?

Grey water is the way to go, even if those rednecks in QLD don’t agree.

Chocolate fondue fountains for all !!

Salary sacrificed fondue sets sound much more PS

Water tanks and fondue sets for all!

Pipelines from FNQ are a terrible idea. Do you know how much that would cost to set up? Let alone the amount of energy you’d use pumping it south?

I agree with Mael. We need to get over our abitrary definition of what is “clean” water, and start being a bit more careful in how we collect and use potable water.

You know mael we’ve been having this chat over on the concatentate.

Although Australia is the driest continent on earth, we also have a comparatively small population. There are parts of Australia that get more rain than they know what to do with, and it ends up flowing into the sea. Pipelines from FNQ are a brilliant idea!
It’s also worth remembering that the climate is cyclical. For 10 years or more we may get not much rain, but then we typically get times of too much. Anyone remember 15 years ago when it rained regularly for 2 or 3 years. Lake George was overflowing onto the road!

Methinks we might want to invest in social change that allows us to drink water that has had poo in it at some time or another – frankly I am amazed that we don’t since fish and animals do that anyway in our current reserves.

When the rains came the other day I was caught in the unfortunate circumstance of having to walk to an event in Kingston from my workplace through the rain. The Telopea Park causeway was gushing more water at a higher purity level than most riverways I am aware of in Australia, to the tune of megalitres/minute

Bet your bottom dollar that same water which isn’t being used because it’s ‘greywater’ has already found it’s way to the next dam downcatchment, where it has magically transformed into valuable and useful.

Absent Diane1:30 am 01 Sep 06

how about we invade lebanon and kill off there little terrorist club so we can build a pipeway to get water direct… man i wish the romans had of thought of that….

beer bad…chris good

Tempestas – you can have a lawn in Canberra. You just can’t have too much of it, and you have to make certain allowances. I have a lawn that I water once a week (if that). I accept that it will brown off in the coldest bits of winter and the hottest bits of summer.

However, having a lawn in your front yard is vanity. It looks nice, but never gets used (i.e, lain on whilst drinking beer and chucking a tenno for the dog. Cover your nature strip in forest chip and indigenous/native flowering plants. Uses less water and attracts birds.

James-T-Kirk4:05 pm 31 Aug 06

AD – Funny, kind of like a roo cull.

Have you seen the cool survey at 106.3’s web site http://www.mix106.com.au – I love the result there!

James-T-Kirk3:58 pm 31 Aug 06

I agree that it is important to look at consumption as an overall picture.

We have to be carefull that whatever we do ends up being sustainable in the long term. I don’t really want to fix things now (and discover, say 20%), and discover that because the Govmit has screwed up the math, they expect us to get another 20% in 5 years time.

Unfortunately, life is not like the public service, where you are expected to extract efficiency gains every year, in spite of loosing staff. At some point, you are as close to 100% as you are going to get, and then to increase throughput, you have to add people (and associated costs) to the equation.

Just as an aside, Have you seen those cool flourescent globes that save all of those greenhouse gasses. The ones they were giving away at the Canberra centre recently. That is an example of efficiency gone mad. Each globe has mercury in it, and the blobby thing at the end has an electronic balast. To make that used heavy metals, arsenic, cadnium, and tons more. Nobody looks at the long term effects of the manufacture of the item itself. It is all about save, save, save, but at what cost.

My Good, old fasioned light bulb has Tin, Glass, A plastic spacer, and a tungsten filament. Requires no nasty chemical processing, and simply has a little bit of a vacuum. Somebody has to look at the long term picture……

Please !!!!!

So if Australia has a finite amount of rain, how does building more dams help. Are we not just taking water that would of gone somewhere else and bringing it here? Perhaps we need a pipeline from FNQ – they gets lots of rain.

So I take it the real problem some people have is that they can’t use as much water as they want and its the gubmints fault.

Surely living on the driest continent on the planet suggests that maybe we need to consider how much water we use and try not to waste it.

Nice Call A-D which marginal electorate were you thinking of.

JTK – Front fences are not a great idea they actually increase crime. There are plenty of ways to distinguish between public and private space without a fence.

Perhaps growing things suited to our environment might be a good start, Lawn is just not suited to a place with frosts and scorching summers.

I realise that is what dams are for but will a *new* catchment area fill enough to support the population growth ?. Aside from all that we do still need to examine our own water usage in an attempt at conservation – not saying don’t water the grass/plants but I am sure this is an area that could have a significant impact on dam levels (with a large enough number of people reducing their personal obviously).

Has their ever been anything more stupid than the odds and evens system anyway? Obviously dreamed up by someone with far too much time on their hands. Just KISS – watering your gardens (if you must) on a Sunday evening between 6pm and 10pm would be a far easier system to remember.

James-T-Kirk3:48 pm 31 Aug 06

snahon – I agree with you that Stages 1 – 5 are a waste of time. They are simply a political stunt.

James-T-Kirk3:42 pm 31 Aug 06

snahon – That is what DAMS are for.

We have a couple of good years of rainfall, then 5 – 8 years of crappy rain. We used to store that in a dam, so that there was water available when we needed int.

It is kind of like storing grain for bad years.

But now, the number of people has outstripped the existing storage capacity. And while the Govmit is busy raking in the profits from Land Rates, Water Rates, as well as making bucket loads from releasing new blocks of land, and advertising for people to come live in Canberra, they can bloddy well fund and build appropriate storage capacity.

Can you imaging a world where your local cross bar exchange was fully occupied, and you constantly got a busy signal when you tried to dial up your ISP at 28.8K baud. We upgraded our exchanges, and our bearer links as the population increased, and even as the *expectations* of our population increased.

We didn’t say odd houses can access the internet on odd days…..

Also, if we have significantly more water storage we can take advantage of the periodic wet times to see us through the dry times.

Agree JTK, the gov was very short sighted on that. As a side bar – if one of lifes essential IS water can the govt really ban the use of water tanks for the catchment of something that falls from the sky ? (did anyone actually contest the laws?)

It comes from the larger catchment area we can now access.

where exactly does the water for the new dam come from VY?

James-T-Kirk3:35 pm 31 Aug 06

I feel that I live in a civilised country.

The Government charges me for the water I use.

Just like any supplier, they have the capacity to measure supply and demand.

Unfortunately, their ability to satisfy demand is based on 30 – 60 – 100 year old measures on what that would be.

I do NOT want to start wearing enviro suits that trap all of the moisture leaving my body (which is the logical CONSERVATION endpoint.

I do NOT want to live in the dustbowl (or concrete jungle) that is also the logical endpoint of not watering anything.

I would have installed a water tank a couple of years ago, but that was ILLEGAL. The same Govmit that didn’t want me to have decent telly reception, and prevented me from installing a front fence to keep the kids off my garden, decided that installing water tanks would compromise their ability to extract revenue from my use of the water.

It is a resource that has to be used *wisely*, not controlled in an authoritan nature.

All I prey is that when our population reaches 600,000 we have additional capacity for storage. To reduce water consumption to 50% probably means that we have to start drinking the loo water – Just like Towoomba residents declined to do.

During the 80’s I believe the ACT guvmint made it illegal to have rainwater tanks with your house. As far as I’m concerned they can solve the problem.
The reality is that we have already picked a good spot for a new dam, let’s start building it now and filling it before the situation gets so bad we can’t use water at all.

Sensible use of water is far more important than just building more dams. Australia has always been a relatively dry country but the difference between now and then (say 20 – 30 yrs ago) is the increase in population and its geographical concentration. Subsequently all that ‘free’ water in the dams has bee used up and now everyone whinges !!!

Its wasn’t an issue before because consumption use to be fairly consistent what our climate delivers. Now since the demand for water has increased significantly over the last few decades, its time we actually started thinking about conservation in a practical and daily sense.

This rubbish of stage 1 to 5 (depending on existing dam levels) is useless. As soon as the dams fill up a little, the powers that be decide we can reduce restrictions and every moron goes ‘oh great i can now do this and that and bingo water levels drop significantly.

People need to start using their brain and start apply some basic principles on water usage.

you could always sit a few kids eating cobs of corn on your veranda…

Absent Diane2:51 pm 31 Aug 06

here’s a solution – population cull. Then i can have three showers a day.

or we could shift canberra to somewhere, where there is more water but little population and offer everyone $5000 for doing so. You know what, that is pure genius.

ok i’ll shut up.

barking toad2:44 pm 31 Aug 06

But arsey, if we don’t have plants who’s going to convert all that bad carbon dioxide into oxygen and stop global warming and polar bears drowning and seas rising to flood burley griffin?

James-T-Kirk, you are the sort of person that drives me nuts!!!!

Why are you dumping my drinkable water straight into the dirt?? It is insane. Gardens and lawn are the most useless items this society has ever dreamed up.

I think they should either ban gardens or heres a better solution, how about having a separate meter just for garden taps, that way idiots with water guzzling gardens and lawns can be charged at the higher price they deserve to pay for wasting our limited drinking supply.

Water pricing is like the price of petrol – increase the price and demand will fall a little bit. Until the move North I spent 3 years working for the local water authority. I noticed people with large water usage fell into several categories, ie large garden, swimming pool or spa, teenage daughters or disabled (incontinent) children. Teenage daughters were probably the most significant users of water. Large rural residential households with a large garden, swimming pool and teenage girls were the worst combination. Pricing will probably not make much difference nor will the supply of class A recycled water to such households. Which backyard in the ACT are we you going to build the dam in for when it does rain?


The point of this excercise is water CONSERVATION. Building one, two or three dams is hardly going to encourage the idiots who whinge about these initiatives to think carefully about where their used, unwanted water goes, and how best to use it, rather than piss it down a drain now is it?

JTK asks whether or not the Snowy Scheme would be built today?

Possibly not. Back then Australia decided to invest heavily in agriculture – because after all, all that knowledge economy stuff was best left to the people who really understood that stuff – like the English. Agriculture needs water and that’s why the Snowy Scheme delivers a tad over 90% of all the water it captures to irrigators.

Today of course instead of relying on agrarian socialism to deliver or veges and fresh fruit we’d be importing our produce from places that grow it better, cheaper and more efficiently than us and our economy would have grown in other ways …

Or water the garden, JTK.

James-T-Kirk12:07 pm 31 Aug 06

Clearly, we all have to hold it in, and only go to the loo at work.

During *non core* time

I have an interesting document on my desk that details water consumption in Australia (these figures are unverifiable by me Areaman so you’ll just have to put up with them):

Loo : 29%
Shower : 20%
Washing Machine : 19%
Kitchen Sink : 15%
Sinks : 13%
Dishwasher : 2%

So these restrictions are aimed at a 2% water consumption rate ?

The usefulness and outcomes of these restrictions beggars disbelief if the stats I have at hand are accurate.

James-T-Kirk12:04 pm 31 Aug 06

Thumper, I agree with your statement. When it’s Odds and Evens, I *increase* my watering to every second day. I use a computer timer, and water every *third* day. With Ods and Evens, it would be illegal for me to water every third day, so I change it to every second day.


Why don’t they just build another dam and be done with it. If we had telephone or electricity infrastructure that was in the same state as the water infrastructure, there would be hell to pay.

More people = increased water demands. It does not equal reduce demand because we dont have the guts to build more water storage.

Bloody dumb guvmits. Would Australia have built the snowy scheme today? Or would we have not bothered about it, because it was *politically sensitive*

barking toad11:50 am 31 Aug 06

And with the introduction of restrictions to watering on the odds/evens system people will religiously get out and water every second day because that’s when they’re allowed to.

Without the restrictions they’d probably just give the garden a good soaking once a week even if there was no rain.

What a big surprise the winter rains have not arrived!
We are in the worst drought and fire season in living memory along the East coast of Australia and people in Canberra are worried about the price of H2O.

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