Friday, 25 September 2009


Water in Australia is every Australian’s issue.  
It is definitely not a global issue, 
except in accepting our part in addressing 
global warming and climate change.  
We have all the tools here in Australia 
to resolve our own water problems.

We have the inventors and the knowledge, the experts, the decision makers and the project managers, the workers and the water consumers. 

All we have to do – and it seems to be such an unnecessarily big call - is to support all these attributes with strategies and policies which cater adequately for rapidly changing water availability. 

Melbourne for example has one and a third years supply of water in its storages today, which demonstrates the lack of real action by governments to address the crisis which has been apparent for 10 years. 

The one thing that absolutely sabotages ongoing water availability for all Australians is the McCarthiest approach to water.

Mr McCarthy is the chief executive of a global water business, Black & Veatch.  It is well worth delving into the intense book ‘Blue Covenant’ written by Maude Barlow, senior water advisor to the UN.  

Maude Barlow documents just how insidious and depraved are the efforts of lobbyists and economic McCarthiests throughout the World.  The very corporations that are setting up in Australia comprise board members and CEO’s of corporations that have been thrown out of other countries for breaking promises on the quality, costs, and delivery of water.

The Age article by McCarthy contains the line that no country can solve these (water) issues alone.  What baloney!  McCarthy’s interest is solely to make money out of water and water infrastructure, and to monopolize as much of that as he can.

What McCarthy is on about is not making water available to everyone; rather it is about profiteering from privatisation of water and water infrastructure.

South Australia has fallen for the privatised water system ploy and is already suffering the consequences.  Victoria is beginning to fall for it, with the PPP  - Public Private Partnerships – such as the North-South Sugarloaf pipeline and the mammoth, (biggest in the World, of course), Desalination plant designated for Kilcunda in Gippsland.

Australians living in urban areas, exemplified by Melbourne, Geelong, Shepparton, Albury Wodonga and Ballarat and even the arid Bendigo, universally have a water based effluent system which requires vast quantities of water to keep on flushing the solids and to dilute the industrial and domestic poisons we put down the sewerage systems.  This was designed for places and times of over abundant water.

The operating success of those current systems is dependent on continual large quantities of water, and in sheer defiance of logic during this long period of growing drought and climate change, we use drinking quality water for this purpose.

It is not rocket science to conceive and develop a new system, which eliminates many solids, salts and toxic effluents at the entry end of the system, or to control what goes in before it enters the system.

Many industries which use a lot of water (industry uses about 120 billion litres per year - one third of the total Melbourne water consumed) can be required to stop shoving salts and other chemicals down the sewer, with the likely result that their profits will rise through greater efficiencies.

On the water storage and delivery side of water supply, it is not beyond us to split the water delivery system so that the truly critical human requirements of say 20 litres of potable water per day are delivered to each household (after all, we used to delivery milk this way.  The challenge is to see that the McCarthiests don’t hold their monopoly on that).

Sensibly, and to keep the drinking water and its distribution system ownership in public hands, a second system of small pipes can be added to the system for strictly potable use.

The precedent is already set; new urban developments are having purple striped pipe installed to carry second grade water for parks, and for gardens.  The potable small quantity delivery system can lead to the third kitchen tap.

The enormous quantity of less potable water for general use can be delivered from the existing poorer quality storages and from underground.  To enable sustainable use without dropping the groundwater levels unsustainably, storm water is directed underground and filtered in the process.

McCarthy and his cronies offer no solution to the water problem; they offer; in fact demand only more water abuse, so that they can get paid premium prices for their services, using our water.

When we recognise that environmental sustainability, water as a prime example, underpins our lives and our ability to live in this wonderful dry continent for which we are stewards, we see that economic development cannot be sustainable unless we ensure that environmental sustainability comes first.

Edwin Adamson
DipAg MEnvSc
Landscape for Life
Merrijig Vic 3723
0428 775 758

Edwin Adamson is an environment, planning consultant and ecologist. 


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