Water Journal : Water Journal August 2012
crosscurrent 8 AUGUST 2012 water regular features International Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced additional funding for the Civil Society Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Fund, providing $97 million of funding to WASH initiatives around the world. AusAID is currently seeking proposals for the Fund, which aims to enhance the health and quality of life of the poor and vulnerable by improving sustainable access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. A UNEP report highlights a range of projects that showcase the ability of local authorities to deal with local problems. One of these is the Dan region wastewater treatment plant in Israel, which uses advanced wastewater treatment ahead of groundwater recharge. Other projects include 'water smart' parks in Stirling, Australia, where advanced irrigation methods reduced water consumption by 80 per cent. The Australian water industry has highly developed expertise in non-revenue water management, water quality, climate change adaptation, water and energy efficiency, risk management and asset management. Water Operator Partnerships (WOPs) offer a vehicle to share this knowledge and expertise internationally. Participation by Australia in WOPs is growing, with seven partnerships in the Asia/Pacific region completed or in progress. Also, the Australian Government Agency for International Development, AusAID, has provided support for WOP programs run by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Indonesia and upcoming in the Pacific. The European Parliament has voted for a non-binding resolution that access to water should be a fundamental and universal right. The resolution, drafted by Austrian Christian Democrat MEP Richard Seeber, calls water 'a shared resource of humankind and a public good. Access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right'. The document calls for an audit of the state of Europe's water network 'given the possibility that as much as 70% of the water supplied to European cities is lost as a result of leaks in the water system'. National Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, has announced the appointment of a new Chair and reappointed commissioners to the National Water Commission. Former South Australian Nationals MP and Minister for Water Security and the River Murray, Ms Karlene Maywald, has been appointed Chair and Commissioner for a three-year term. Senator Farrell said Ms Maywald brings a high level of expertise in water resource management to the role. Former CEO of AWA, Chris Davis, has been reappointed as a commissioner. Federal Water Minister Tony Burke has launched four new major teaching units to help students across Australia learn about the importance of water. The four units aligned to the Australian Curriculum allow students to explore four key regions in Australia: the Murray-Darling Basin; Northern Australia and the Wet Tropics; the Lake Eyre Basin; and the Great Artesian Basin. Mr Burke said the teaching resources explore how natural water systems work, the ways we use water, and sustainable water management practices. The Siemens Stiftung (foundation) has launched a worldwide competition aimed at identifying and granting better access to appropriate technological solutions as one of the key levers for sustainable development. Inventors and developer teams are called upon to submit technical products or solutions that help combat existential problems in basic supply. The entries will be evaluated and made accessible to practitioners on a central knowledge database, empowering more people to actively improve social and economic environments. The national Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme has been strengthened with the passage through Parliament of the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Amendment (Scheme Enhancements) Bill 2012. The WELS Scheme helps consumers save water and money, and industry to showcase water-efficient technology, by requiring washing machines, dishwashers, showers, toilets and tap equipment to be registered and labelled with a water efficiency rating of between zero to six stars. The largest study ever undertaken in Australia to investigate and address public perceptions of drinking recycled water will be led by UNSW's Journalism and Media Research Centre (JMRC). The research will form the basis of a national education and engagement program that will give Australians access to evidence-based information about the production and consumption of recycled water. UNSW's Faculty of Engineering and School of Public Health and Community Medicine, along with 30 national and international organisations, are collaborating on the $10 million research project, which is funded by the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence. Australia will not have enough fresh water to meet the combined needs of a rapidly growing population, expanding industries and conservation of native landscapes in the mid-21st century if it fails to articulate a national groundwater strategy for the future. This caution comes from two of the nation's most eminent water scientists, Professor Craig Simmons and Professor Peter Cook of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NGCRT), as the National Groundwater Action Plan winds up and the latest Murray- Darling Plan proposes changes to groundwater rules. The National Water Commission (NWC) will continue its important role overseeing the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) national water reform agenda, following Parliament's passage of the National Water Commission Amendment Bill 2012. Welcoming the passage of the Bill, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said the Gillard Government had delivered on its commitment to continue the National Water Commission.
Water Journal September 2012-1
Water Journal July 2012