Water Journal : Water Journal December 2012
conference reviews water DECEMBER 2012 51 Mr Gasson was blunt and direct, but made a strong case. He noted that Australia’s desalination plants were large, expensive and had not led to the development of Australian expertise that could be exported to the world. Then he told us what he really thought... which, in fact, was not at all negative. He echoed some of the remarks of Rosemary Bissett and Chris Herbert. Melbourne, for example, has a world-class plant that will protect the city against future drought for a relatively inexpensive price of 36 cents per day per resident. Moreover, the plant protects Melbourne’s water-dependent industries and, therefore, its economic base. Additionally, as one of the series of plants around Australia that are carbon neutral, Australia has a capability that can be exported, if effort is put into exploiting this knowledge. Australia also becomes a place which, with sustainable supplies of water, is attractive to businesses that do not want to face the risk that water shortages will emerge, or that want to make sure the water they use does not have an unacceptable impact on the environment. The day’s final session dealt with the development of water markets, and so the switch was made to a more rural focus, albeit considerable reference was made to the opportunity for rural-urban trades to exist, particularly by Tom Rooney, CEO of Waterfind. Mark Siebentritt, Chair of Healthy Rivers Australia, spoke at a more intimate level about the involvement of the local communities in environmental watering initiatives. After providing an overview of the development of markets, Mark discussed the benefits and disadvantages of NGO involvement in water purchases for environmental purposes. He explained that while the market provided advantages, there was a disconnect between environmental need and community involvement. Certainly, he said, water markets enabled local communities to make small strategic water purchases and demonstrate their commitment to the river and its ecosystems, but money to make such purchases and donations is unreliable. Further, he explained, the financial instruments available did not always suit the needs of local, committed communities (water donations, for example, are not tax deductable). He called for new mechanisms including, but not limited to, options contracts, that might provide more flexibility and enable better tailoring of available resources to environmental need. The 4th National Water Leadership Summit will be held in Canberra from 20-21 November, 2013. See the AWA website for more details. Christopher Gasson, Publisher, Global Water Intelligence. Contact Us: T: 02 9502 8000 or 1300 130 149 F: 02 9502 8090 firstname.lastname@example.org www.georgfischer.com.au CLEAN WATER a commitment of Georg Fischer Georg Fischer created the Clean Water Foundation in 2002. Thanks to this foundation, GF has been able to help 200,000 people worldwide to have access to clean drinking water and a better water supply over the long term. To date close to $7M has been invested in this project. Visit www.cleanwater.ch for further information.
Water Journal February 2013
Water Journal November 2012-1