Water restrictions, amazing attitudes

LanyonValley1 5 February 2010 52

In the latest City News.. (can’t find it now) has an article/letter from a Canberra person lamenting the death of trees in his city.. and in his backyard. Draconian water restrictions… leading to loss of amenity and community. Our “leafy trees and green lawns used to be an evaporative aircon” built in to our verdant land.. until that nasty gummint stopped us using water, like it was. He disputes the government advice that our trees are concurrently dying due to old age, particularly the exotics like oaks and elms, but the drought is not helping either the government admits.

Mypoic. Parochial. Nimby. Selfish. Narrow-minded. are some of the descriptors I give people like him.

I’d love to drive him out to our highest, best dam in our highest rainfall area (Corin Dam) and show him how bad things are. At roughly 50% full and falling, Corin is the backup, the reserve… the thing we will call on when times get tough. The other ‘bigger’ dam over the border in NSW (Googong) next to Queanbeyan is ineffective and low . Built in a rain shadow area.

Current levels: http://www.actewagl.com.au/water/facts/damCapacity.aspx

He needs a lesson, an example he can understand: an analogy is where a small rural hamlet has one 3,000 litre tin water tank and the 30 or so citizens have not had proper rain for 12 years. Which is the case in Canberra with no proper consistent rain since 1998. We keep using it like we used to? … that tank will empty very quick. Dam in our case.

Hey Mr “I want my water back for my trees!” .. what will your family do for water then? Buy it from Woolies?

Concerned and upset,

of Gordon, ACT.


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DavoDavo DavoDavo 4:23 pm 12 Feb 10

georgesgenitals said :

TheVirulentOne said :

The real issue here is about the increase in Canebrra’s population. No one wants to acknowledge that we have a limited water supply that can barely meet the needs of the current population, yet the government keeps building new suburbs and spruiking for people to move here. They don’t care about the future quality of life, all they care about is the short term tax revenue from land sales so they can fund tv ads for the next election, parrotting on about their “achievements”.

+1 well said.

+2 “achievements” my arse!

DavoDavo DavoDavo 4:21 pm 12 Feb 10

radonezh said :

Plant triffids – they almost never need watering and they’ll take care of the excess population growth.

Hey, excellent idea, where can I get some?

housebound housebound 12:21 pm 11 Feb 10

imhotep said :

But what percentage of our water use is taken up by domestic use on gardens? Does anyone know? Are domestic gardens the real problem, or are they simply an easy and obvious target?(SOE 2007-08)

The 2003 SoE had some answers: garden use accounts for 39% of domestic water use. This is, of course, an estimate because no one actually measures it. Interesting that figure dropped out by the 2007/8 SoE, when you should have seen a drop in garden water use thanks to water restrictions.

radonezh radonezh 10:32 am 11 Feb 10

Plant triffids – they almost never need watering and they’ll take of the excess population growth.

neca neca 5:04 pm 08 Feb 10

#13 – No territory is an island. If I recall correctly, at the risk of pontificating (ok, I admit it), the ACT catchments have been too small to produce the water needed for the ACT for decades.
a) South Australia got the water it wanted after running a chest-thumping media campaign and that story is dead. According to some commentators, it was probably always going to get the water anyway but it played well in SA.
b) The Murrumbidgee flows into the ACT and it was topped up last summer from the Snowy-Hydro, resulting water pumped into Googong Dam, and ActewAGL is planning a permanent pipeline starting near Williamsdale just inside the ACT border, running to Burra in NSW, and so into Googong.
c) Googong Dam and its catchment is in NSW but control was formally handed over to the ACT government with (as I understand it) a guarantee of water for city development in Queanbeyan, so ACT water restrictions apply in Queanbeyan.
d) The drinking water supply for downstream towns such as Wagga is also drawn from the Murrumbidgee after it passes through the ACT but they have their own restrictions.

Time to stop – sounding like a pedant. Or a pontiff.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 6:41 pm 07 Feb 10

But what percentage of our water use is taken up by domestic use on gardens? Does anyone know?

I’m pretty sure that I saw an ACT Government figure of between 20-30%. The majority of domestic water use is inside the house – washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, showers evaporative cooling systems etc. Stanhope refuses to consider simply pricing water accurately and letting the community decide – under his form of socialist utopia we’re apparently too stupid to be able to make our own choices.

Water restrictions are a great short term tool but they simply don’t work in the longer term.

imhotep imhotep 5:14 pm 07 Feb 10

It’s pretty well known that people will adjust their attitudes to suit their behaviour, rather than the other way around. I expect that people railing against water use for gardens aren’t gardeners, and vice-versa.

ACTEW’s reaction to low water levels certainly seems to focus largely on domestic garden usage.

But what percentage of our water use is taken up by domestic use on gardens? Does anyone know? Are domestic gardens the real problem, or are they simply an easy and obvious target?

The total amount of water supplied for residential use only declined by 12% in the period 2001-2008, while our gardens have turned to dust.

In my view, our dire water supply problem is not the fault of the people who have gardens, no matter how tempting that may be. It is the drought, combined with poor urban planning and procrastination by successive governments.

(SOE 2007-08)

SolarPowered SolarPowered 12:47 pm 07 Feb 10

CHW said “deciduous trees actually make their own mulch – but no one EVER uses it as such!”

I gladly go round every year and pick up all of the fallen leaves I can get my hands on. Makes the best mulch ever. It keeps weeds away and moisture in. Unlike Euci mulch that we have paid for in the past.

I water my vegie garden every day over summer and don’t feel guilty about it. The rest of the garden gets a good soak about once a fortnight – if needed.

Just because I water my garden doesn’t mean I am selfish.

How about you write a post about long showers, or over-washing of clothes and cars. And throw some names around some more – that really makes your point quite intelligently.

astrojax astrojax 12:35 pm 07 Feb 10

Nationalise the idea, and start building pipelines from places up north (like we have with natural gas) that have heaps of water and no people. Creates jobs and improves the living standards of many.

sounds ok, in theory, but the practicality isn’t as simple, enormous energy (and so probably water use – how much water do coal fired power stations and nuclear stations use again?) required to make it flow those distances and in the building of the infrastructure so we don’t get 90% evaporation, etc…

and then there are the ecological consequences – witness the appalling state of the murray-darling basin with googleplex litres taken for decades for irrigation and the like with no heed for the consequences. result, dying rivers, stuffed ecologies and a disaster looming that may limit the whole country’s population to about six people. the areas up north whence you might source the water has critical ecosystem roles to play that we fcuk with at our own peril…

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 7:21 am 07 Feb 10

Maybe just charge for the water, and let people use as much as they want. Then use the money paid for the water to fund the additional water infrastructure we need going forward.

Nationalise the idea, and start building pipelines from places up north (like we have with natural gas) that have heaps of water and no people. Creates jobs and improves the living standards of many.

We all know water is a problem in Australia – time to start loking for solutions. I think it’s great that we’ve managed to reduce our use, but that’s hardly the whole answer.

Thumper Thumper 8:39 pm 06 Feb 10

That is, i agree. Get some other species in, even non native species…

Thumper Thumper 8:25 pm 06 Feb 10

here is a rdical thought – trees native to the conditions, that do not drop humumgous tree limbs randomly,

In my experience it’s generally natives, ie eucs, that drop large limbs on cars and houses. They have evolved to do so.

They don’t call them widow makers for nothing.

moneypenny2612 moneypenny2612 7:07 pm 06 Feb 10

@hollow_man

Most renters *do* pay for water consumption – especially those living in detached or semi-detached houses.

I think only renters living in multiple occupancy properties (without separate metering) get by without having to pay for water. Those types of properties usually don’t have extensive gardens – certainly not many trees or lawns to tend to.

Personally, I think the water restrictions are a bit arbitrary even though there is common sense in not watering gardens during the day. Perhaps if water cost more (across Australia) people might think twice before wasting it.

Of course, sustainable water usage doesn’t stop with residents. Industry and businesses have a lot of improving to do too.

astrojax astrojax 5:02 pm 06 Feb 10

cranky said :

Are Govco still peeing megalitres down the river for fish flows?

what sort of facile comment is this? like, biodiversity isn’t anything important for you? me me me, don’t give a bugger about the greater system, which includes the the down river community, and all its attendant fish…

and btw, pandy – it’s pig’s arse?, not ‘ass’… can anyone imagine john elliot saying ‘ass’? what sort of donkey would he look! i know obama’s coming and you’re all excited, but this is strylya and we say, and write, ‘arse’…

welkin31 welkin31 4:46 pm 06 Feb 10

25 cranky asks the very pertinent question, “Are Govco still peeing megalitres down the river for fish flows?”. If you go to this ACTEW webpage;
http://www.actewagl.com.au/water/facts/damCapacity.aspx
and scroll down to the graphic “Dam capacity”.
Is the sawtooth pattern of three sharp decreases in the Cotter volume line due to sudden releases for fish experiments ?
Then notice how the Cotter volume stays near 100% on and off for six fortnightly periods, 3 Sep to just after 8 Dec. I take that to mean there would have been overflows (or water to Wagga Wagga) but I am not aware the amount is recorded.
Now the really puzzling part.
In this three month period of Cotter being at or v near 100% we see there was a sudden release of 34% of Bendora volume = ~3.9GL – in just over a month from 5th Oct. Can anyone suggest why Bendora should have had 34% dumped out of it at a time Cotter was intermittently at 100% full until mid Dec ?
IMHO ACTEW (as cranky says, Govco) need to publish much more to account for what they do with our water.

CHW CHW 3:02 pm 06 Feb 10

Hey – replace the old street trees with – here is a rdical thought – trees native to the conditions, that do not drop humumgous tree limbs randomly, and do not have pestilential nuts (Oak trees – argh) and leaves (deciduous trees actually make their own mulch – but no one EVER uses it as such!).

My money is on: River Oaks; Silky Oak; Blueberry Ash; River Banksia; Mallee Gums… I could go on, but there are the most amazing hybrids available these days, and you do NOT have to have boring old gum trees that drop limbs with no warning.

trevar trevar 2:46 pm 06 Feb 10

I don’t entirely disagree with the City News correspondent, but I’m curious about the phrase “built into our verdant land”. The OP presents this as a paraphrase, but it still worries me. My memory of my Australian History lessons at the ANU tells me that prior to European settlement, the Limestone Plains were treeless, like the Monaro, so if my memory is correct, I hardly think that the presence of large trees on the plains, as we have now, can be described as natural. Surely trees in Canberra (apart from the odd scraggy gum) should be thought of as part of the built environment, not part of the natural environment?

sepi sepi 10:37 am 06 Feb 10

Just because we want to water our gardens doesn’t mean we don’t understand that water is precious.

I have family with properties and tank water, and they still water their vegie gardens most days, and not just at dusk/dinner time either.

What they don’t do is have spa baths, pools, wash towels after one use, or any of the other wasteful indoor uses of water that are still allowed under our stupid garden-hating restrictions.

Anna Key Anna Key 8:26 am 06 Feb 10

After an inch of rain yesterday, Canberra airport/BBP still have the sprinklers on this morning. Even if this isn’t mains water, surely it would be better to save it for a non-rainy day?

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 7:42 am 06 Feb 10

TheVirulentOne said :

The real issue here is about the increase in Canebrra’s population. No one wants to acknowledge that we have a limited water supply that can barely meet the needs of the current population, yet the government keeps building new suburbs and spruiking for people to move here. They don’t care about the future quality of life, all they care about is the short term tax revenue from land sales so they can fund tv ads for the next election, parrotting on about their “achievements”.

+1 well said.

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