Water Journal : Water Journal May 2011
crosscurrent 18 MAY 2011 water regular features Queensland Queensland Minister for Energy and Water Utilities, Stephen Robertson, has announced that he will not contest the next State Election. Mr Robertson was responsible for introducing the Water Resource Plans throughout Queensland and developing the SEQ Water Strategy. The Queensland Government has launched new online tools and information for wetlands managers and planners. The new best practice Queensland Wetland Buffer Planning Guideline tool will help planners and managers design the most appropriate buffer to stop the impacts on Queensland wetlands of development and other threatening activities. A SEQ Water report on the operation of Wivenhoe and Somerset dams during the January floods has been released by the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM). The report addresses its compliance with the Flood Mitigation Manual for Wivenhoe and Somerset dams and the scope for potential changes in dam operational arrangements related to flood mitigation. It notes that the combined effects of the Somerset Dam and Wivenhoe Dam did reduce flood damage downstream; however it was not possible to fully mitigate the impacts of the flood without putting the safety of the dams at risk. The Queensland Government has announced changes to the South-East Queensland Water (Distribution and Retail Restructuring) Act 2009. The changes will cap distribution and retail annual water and sewerage price increases at CPI, which currently stands at 2.7 per cent. The Local Government Association of Queensland has criticised the changes, stating that the "so-called cap on water prices contains no commitment to reduce bulk water charges, which are the major driver of price increases". The Commission of Inquiry into the Queensland Floods has opened for public hearings. The commission will review the lead-up to, response and aftermath of the floods which affected 70% of the state in January 2011. Submissions from interested individuals and organisations are available for download. Australian Capital Territory The Australian National Botanic Gardens will be irrigated with water from Lake Burley Griffin, saving up to 170 megalitres of Canberra's drinking water each year. A new $2.9 million pipeline will draw the Gardens' irrigation requirements from the Lake. Western Australia The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has rejected a proposal from Vasse Coal Management to develop a mine in the Margaret River region. The EPA considered there are likely to be significant impacts from the proposal on the Leederville and Sues Aquifers, including the social surrounds of the region. An online calendar partnering Indigenous weather knowledge with western science has been launched by the Kimberley Land Council, the Mirima Language and Cultural Centre and the Bureau of Meteorology. The Miriwoong Interactive Seasonal Calendar captures the six seasons of the east Kimberley and is the result of the Miriwoong traditional owners sharing their knowledge of weather and climate through paintings and documentaries. Water Corporation has launched a new water saving program in a number of towns in the south of the state. H2ome Smart will provide residents with one-on-one advice from a consultant on areas where water savings could be made. It is expected that the program will save more than 415 megalitres of water each year. The Economic Regulation Authority of Western Australia (ERA) has released the final report on its Inquiry into Water Resource Management and Planning Charges. The inquiry provides the West Australian Government with a range of recommendations for the recovery of the water resource management and planning expenses incurred by the Department of Water. The ERA has recommended licensed water users be charged an annual fee, which would allow the department to recoup $14 million. A new pipeline will be constructed in the Carnarvon horticulture district to deliver a reliable water supply for growers. The pipeline will provide irrigation across the entire Carnarvon horticulture precinct in order to support intensive agriculture development. Tasmania Tasmania's independent Economic Regulator has released its third annual review of the state's urban water and sewerage industry. Drinking water quality across the state remains an issue, with 24 permanent boil water alerts in place to manage the potential risk to public health. The performance of the state's wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) continues to be a problem, with 71 out of the 78 WWTPs underperforming against the compliance limits set by the Environment Protection Authority. Southern Water has started to roll out water meters across southern Tasmania. According to Southern Water, the introduction of meters will deliver a fairer two-part pricing system, which allows customers to pay a fixed fee that contributes to pipes, treatment plants and dams, and a variable fee allowing people to pay only for the water they use.
Water Journal April 2011
Water Journal July 2011