Water Journal : Water Journal September 2013
water september 2013 4 From the President LEADING THE WORLD IN WATER KNOW-HOW Graham Dooley – AWA President I am often asked whether we need to continue to apply so much effort in developing alternative water supplies, making our water use as economical as we can and recycling water at every opportunity in those areas that are free of drought. The foundation of our Australian water industry was laid in the great drought of the 1850s. This drought initiated about 100 years of water-supply dam building to avoid the devastating consequences that arose from the six years of crippling drought that lasted from 1850 to 1856. We have now effectively exhausted productive dam sites around our major cities and have invested billions of dollars to manufacture drinking water from the ocean, and from treated wastewater and groundwater. Western Australia’s Water Corporation is to be congratulated on the launch and completion of its three-year Groundwater Replenishment Trial; I feel sure the Royal Engineer who wrote the Royal Commission report of 1859 would have endorsed this scheme! (As an aside, the Royal Commission report of 1859 also recommended some other momentous legal and financial changes, which I will write about in subsequent columns.) It is considerably cheaper and more resource- efficient to reclaim and recycle water that is already in our systems, or in close proximity to them. Better still, we would be wise to design our communities to apply a lower water demand on our natural ecosystems and water manufacturing plants. Doing both would be truly beneficial. And that, in fact, is what we are doing right around Australia. Whether or not our dams are full, we should press on with these good initiatives. In fact, as we look around the world and see what advances are being made, we can take real pride that the best work in this water field is being done in Australia. All our states and territories, as well as our creative Research & Development sector, are applying healthy doses of Aussie innovation to creating urban environments that have lower demand, increased liveability, lower unit cost of new water supplies, better water re-use, better policy and more focused regulation and pricing that promote a more constrained and more efficient water future. We need to continue with this value-creating work – it would be disappointing to starve it of funds and skill when we are making real headway on so many fronts. In our irrigated agricultural sector, which is an economic power house of the future for Australia, the improved water trading laws and systems of the last 20 years have had a profound and beneficial impact on the use of water – greater than the COAG leaders who developed them in 1994 could ever have imagined. Our Aussie know-how in both these urban and rural water sectors is priceless in a world market that struggles with how to get better value from a limited water resource where there is less fresh water to go around. The AWA Board has taken the decision to forge ahead with a more integrated and better-developed waterAUSTRALIA offering to our Corporate Members, to help grow the export of our water know-how and build a stronger water sector in Australia. Look out for more on this subject from our CEO and in future editions of Water Journal.
Water Journal August 2013
Water Journal November 2013