Water Journal : Water Journal May 2011
industry news Time to Take the Politics out of Water? The release of four reports within one week in April from different Government bodies shows how highly political the urban water industry has become, says Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA). The securing of clean drinking water is a fundamental human need, with a focus on planning for healthy, liveable cities, says the organisation, and taking the politics out of water planning would avoid expensive political turnarounds and short-term thinking. According to Adam Lovell, WSAA Acting Executive Director, "The urban water industry welcomes the debate to develop efficient options for the pricing and delivery of water services, as long as it benefits our customers. We trust our water utilities to take care of our health, which they do efficiently and well, but when it comes to water planning for our cities, the industry is hampered by politically motivated decisions. "We urge Queensland to stay the course on the National Water Initiative and previous COAG reforms. A return to user- pays, full-cost reflective pricing must be back on the agenda. We are cautious about the merits and practicality of scarcity pricing at the bulk supply level, and support the view of the National Water Commission that this requires further detailed analysis. To be considered worthwhile it must demonstrate it delivers real benefits to customers." Reform of regional Queensland and New South Wales urban water services is a priority issue, Lovell continues. The regionalisation of Victorian water utilities is largely a success story and Tasmania has shown its commitment to reform with three new utilities for the whole state. These reforms deliver economies of scale, sharing of resources, more efficient capital investment and the ability to attract skilled staff to an incredibly important part of the Australian economy. Investment in maintaining and renewing critical infrastructure should not be constantly delayed by short-term thinking. 'Just- too-late' maintenance doesn't work and future generations will face increased costs as a result, concludes WSAA. Report on the Future of Urban Water Praised by Irrigation Australia Trevor Le Breton, Acting CEO of Irrigation Australia Ltd (IAL) has welcomed the report released last month by the National Water Commission entitled: Urban Water in Australia: future directions. Mr Le Breton says he is looking forward to working with both the National Water Commission and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), for the benefit of the Australian community and of Irrigation Australia's members. "Now is the time, whilst we have reasonable levels of water storages, to work on strategies to ensure that water conservation measures are sustainable into the future. We encourage the jurisdictions to continue with ongoing water conservation measures to ensure we meet the needs of open space and public health, and to use this water efficiently. We must separate supply of water for human needs (e.g. drinking, washing, household), from industry and irrigation (both domestic/household), and open spaces such as parks, gardens, and playing fields," says Le Breton. "It is inevitable that water prices will continue to rise, but we need to ensure the entitlement to green space is not linked to wealth. Our open spaces are there to be enjoyed by all in the community. We need a sustainable approach to achieving this efficiency. To that end, Irrigation Australia welcomes the opportunity to work in a partnership approach with the water authorities to inform their customers regarding irrigation efficiency, standards and guidelines." A sustainable approach to water is essential to ensure that green spaces such as parks remain available to all in future. Delivering innovative water, wastewater and reuse solutions.
Water Journal April 2011
Water Journal July 2011