Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tap into alternatives

Published as a letter to the editor in The Age, Wed 19 December 1007

Cross posted at Forest Letter Watch Blog.

Water Minister Tim Holding's assertion (Letters, 17/12) that the Government's water plan is cost effective and sustainable is questionable. The proposed desalination plant will consume most of Victoria's available renewable energy, which will lend impetus to the Government's ill-advised plan to build yet another brown coal-fired power station.

Incredibly, the Government is still allowing logging in the Thomson catchment, decreasing the quality and quantity of our water. Last week, logging started in the Armstrong catchment, closer to Melbourne. Stopping this logging would be much cheaper than producing desalinated water.

In 2002 extensive public consultation led to a move to develop plans to stop logging our catchments. Five years later it is still business as usual.

Our Melbourne house has been almost self-sufficient for water for more than five years, with 23,000 litres of tank storage.

The $3 billion to be spent on the desalination plant could equip about 600,000 households with tank systems that could provide more water than the plant's estimated production. Combined with recycling sewerage water and protecting our catchments, we may not even need desalination.

We also need improved consultation about options for Victoria's water, rather than unilateral decisions made in Spring Street following deliberations behind closed doors.

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