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Water restrictions forever!

By johnboy - 23 March 2006 29

Mr. Stanhope put out a media release yesterday celebrating world water day by announcing that Canberrans will forever languish under water restrictions.

Well, conscientious Canberrans will. Others will carry on doing what they damn well please, without repercussions, in the Government’s ongoing campaign to drive the law-abiding citizens of Canberra to criminallity.

The ABC has picked up the story.

I guess using price to modify behaviour was just too hard when we can impose a further culture of regulation and compliance instead.

UPDATED: The Canberra Times reportage is now up as well.

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29 Responses to
Water restrictions forever!
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Mr_Shab 11:22 am 28 Mar 06

Seepi – I’m a keen gardener, and I do use more water on my garden than my neighbors (but still manage to sneak in under the excess by being careful about how and when I water). Large sections of my garden are given over to indigenous and native plants (which use less water) and I mulch everything I can.

As you said, like me, most gardeners are trying to use less water by the methods I have outlined. If you are careful, you can have a nice garden without going into excess water usage.

Gardens ARE a good thing, but in designing and maintaining a garden, you have to accept the realities of the local environment (which are pretty ugly realities in Canberra). Either that, or make excessive artificial inputs (i.e, water) into the garden to maintain it.

If you want a garden of exotic, high water usage plants, unmulched garden beds and vast swathes of verdant green lawn then you’re going to have to pay for it.

Les Whinin 10:51 am 28 Mar 06

I agree wholeheartedly with johnboy, and would like to add that those ‘gardeners’ who believe that they require copious amounts of water to maintain ammenity should see a home in Higgins that is completely disconnected from the mains network. This home manages to maintain a garden and all internal water requirements from efficient water management. The owner is able to trap more water on their quarter-acre block than they need to use.

As for the argument about flushing the toilet 20 times a day? Well with a dual-flush toilet that would only be using 60 litres of water, which is less than what a standard garden sprinkler would expell in three minutes.

johnboy 10:08 am 28 Mar 06

Seepi it’s really easy, no subsidies, there are already fees for excess water usage that are deemed to be equitable.

If water is so precious it requires behavioural controls to maintain supply then the people who pour it on the ground for their own enjoyment should be paying more for it. As should people with leaky taps and toilets who can’t be bothered fixing it when the wasted water is costing them bugger all.

Incidentally this would make water tanks more attractive, in any event YOU brought them into this argument, and then ababdoned them when it didn’t suit you.

Most people will do the right thing if it’s easy and costs them nothing.

seepi 9:58 am 28 Mar 06

I just don’t think you are being as rational as you think you are.
Someone earlier has mentioned that tanks cost more than the water saved. (along the lines of your washer example). I was trying to indicate that many gardeners are trying their hardest to make their water use ethical. But we can’t all have tanks – due to renting, or unsuitable/small blocks.
Water at a high price would be hard to administrate because less well off people would have to have subsidies. Large families should also get subsidies. Currently, single people are actually getting the cheapest water – the ‘excess water’ charge comes in ‘per household’ not per person, so large households attract a higher price for water already. Singles in flats pay the least for water, as most/all of their water use is in the cheapest bracket. Any sort of subsidy is hard to manage and encourages people to start trying to rort the system.
In the case of water, I honestly believe most people are trying to do the right thing. I think you would have to increase the cost to huge levels to get the wasteful minority using less water.
I also genuinely think that gardens in general are a good thing, and not just for their owners – but I won’t try to convince you of that one. – I know I don’t want to live in a dustbowl dotted with concrete boxes though.

johnboy 11:00 pm 27 Mar 06

ok seepi, lets take this a step at a time.

gardeners with water tanks are not using the municipal water supply.

good for them I say. I’ve never criticised them so you are being dishonest to bring them into the argument.

Charging for water would be a nightmare to manage So charge more to cover the admin. You have a water meter surely?

And then the ultimate red herring (where are you pulling this bollocks out of today?)

would severly disadvantage families and pregnant women who go to the toilet 20 times a day.

Fine, have 20 toilet flushes.

Gardeners (ex the tank owners who are, as mentioned, not relevant) are taking potable water and pouring it on the ground for their own benefit.

Now I don’t have a problem for that, but having established that the resource is scarce can we PLEASE PRICE IT ACCORDINGLY?

I have to pay for my jollies, pay for yours too please.

And stop with the lies and bullshit.

seepi 7:35 pm 27 Mar 06

I can’t understand this irrational hatred you harbour for gerdeners. Many gardeners have tanks so they can water their plants guilt free. Gardeners tend to like plants and greenery and to think of the benefits to the planet, rather than their hip pocket (when we’re talking 2.00 washer over 20c of water anyway.)
Charging for water would be a nightmare to manage and would severly disadvantage families and pregnant women who go to the toilet 20 times a day.
In any case, factories/industry and irrigators are the biggest users of water – personal use is small potatoes.
Gardeners are improving their own health, the health of the air around us, the health of the soil, and usually keeping a few street trees alive as well. Not to mention the improved appearance of strrets with nice gardens. And ther e are endless books and shows on minimal water gardening these days, which sell like hotcakes.
Gardeners are trying hard to use less water -pick on someone else.

johnboy 3:45 pm 27 Mar 06

they weren’t but they should have been.

society is mad to expect people to act for the good of others to no appreciable benefit to themselves (yes it happens, it’s nice when it happens, but don’t bank on it)

Why spend $2 changing a washer to save 20c of water?

the current pricing indicates our water is almost totally worthless.

it’s not beyond imagination to have minimal allowances which will not disadvantage the poor while still making the home gardeners actually pay for the community resource they so voraciously consume.

Les Whinin 2:42 pm 27 Mar 06

Permanent Water Convervation Measures are simply common sense water use practices that we should be following as socially responsible, mature community. (Mind you, the average punter from the Fraser Tav who uses my front lawn as their private urinal will probably disagree!)

FYI: Raising the cost of potable water is in no way intended to be a deterent for excess water use. It is merely a way for the water utility provider to recover the cost of refurbishing the Stromlo water treatment facility and set up the Stromlo-Googong bulk water transfer system. The latter being implemented so in times of drought there will be enough water for the city without the need for more drastic water restrictions than those we have already seen.

Slinky the Shocker 4:41 pm 24 Mar 06

You should have a green frontyard then…maybe put up a sign…

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