Water Journal : Water Journal September 2011
crosscurrent 16 SEPTEMBER 2011 water regular features Apartment dwellers may face increases in their water bills as a result of a review being conducted by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). Because apartments generally don't have individual water meters, their water bills are lower than those of stand-alone houses. IPART says that at present multi-premise dwellings pay only about 40 per cent of the residential water service charge paid by freestanding houses in Sydney Water's area. Queensland Industry and science have come together with the launch of a new research alliance to support the sustainable development of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry. The alliance was officially launched by CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Megan Clark and Page Maxson, Project Director, Australia Pacific LNG. Dr Clark said the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) has been founded by CSIRO and Australia Pacific LNG (a CSG to LNG joint venture between Origin and ConocoPhillips) to undertake research in five key social and environmental areas: groundwater and surface water, biodiversity, land management, the marine environment and socio-economic impacts. Northern Territory Alice Springs will save up to 1.6 billion litres of drinking water a year as part of a two-year initiative to reduce the pressure on groundwater resources in the local aquifer. Launching the Alice Water Smart project last month, Senator Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, said the Australian Government is providing funding of $7.49 million to the project to assist with measures including recycling and reuse of wastewater, leak reduction, efficient town irrigation, and smart metering. South Australia South Australia's Labor government has supported the rights of coal-seam gas miners to access private land to explore and extract gas deposits, stating coal seam gas has an increasingly important role in the state's energy security. South Australian Mining Minister Tom Koutsantonis admitted that South Australia did not face the same political pressures as Queensland and NSW, where most of Australia's coal seam gas is deposited, as it had adopted a co-operative approach to potential disputes between miners and landholders. Victoria The United Nations Association of Australia (Victorian Division) has held a panel discussion entitled Natural Capital in Victoria: Towards a Sustainable Economy? as part of the lead-up to the next United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit) to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. Guest speakers included: Phillip Glyde, Executive Director, ABARES, and Rob Skinner, Living Victoria Ministerial Council and former CEO of Melbourne Water. Victorian Minister for Water Peter Walsh recently opened two significant water storage projects benefiting the remote East Gippsland communities of Mallacoota and Omeo. Mallacoota's second town drinking water storage is now protected by shade cloth to improve water quality in the 41 million-litre storage, while at Omeo the construction of an additional 10 million-litre storage will increase the town's drinking water storage capacity from 5 million to 15 million litres. Use of Victoria's environmental water entitlements will become more efficient, transparent and accountable thanks to the creation of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH). The Water Holder, which met for the first time last month, is Victoria's new independent body for holding and managing the state's environmental water entitlements. Minister for Water Peter Walsh has slammed the Murray- Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) for refusing to hold open community meetings across Victoria's basin communities. "The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is not showing us they are prepared to engage with communities in an open and transparent way," Mr Walsh said. "Craig Knowles' refusal to front up to open community meetings is clearly aimed at controlling any adverse community reaction following the release of the plan. Basin communities need to be involved in the development of the plan, not just its implementation, because it will affect people's lives, businesses and futures." The final section of pipe has been laid in a $60 million main replacement project to save water and strengthen security of supply in Melbourne's northern and western suburbs. The replacement of the 10.5-kilometre water main between Preston and North Essendon started in February 2009 and was completed over eight stages. Water Minister Peter Walsh said the replaced main was more than 100 years old and had reached the end of its service life. The main replacement is one of several large-scale water and sewerage projects underway across Melbourne to ensure essential infrastructure continues to meet the demands of the city's population growth. Tasmania The $54 million rollout of water meters in Tasmania has been criticised for being behind schedule, riddled with problems and facing a cost blowout. By mid-August it was claimed only 9000 of a scheduled 24,000 meters had been installed on Hobart's Eastern Shore and homeowners were complaining of shoddy workmanship, faulty meters, trampled gardens and poor communication from the state's water corporation.
Water Journal November 2011
Water Journal August 2011