Melbourne’s Water Solution?

I am not going to pass judgement on this video, but all I know is that a desalination plant is a waste of money and will use coal fired electricity to run it, and the North/South pipeline will be stealing water from irrigators and river systems that can’t cope at the moment.  

Maybe this crazy idea just might work, but I think that giving everyone a rainwater tank would be a much cheaper solution.  I will let you make your own mind up.  Let me know what you think.

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  1. john (dad) says

    they ought to take notice of whats happening with our desal plant in qld its always breaking down. its out of action now. and they dont know when it will be operating again

  2. says

    While I won’t comment on the validity of the current government response, I know that it is all a lot more complex then this Topher guy makes out.

    Good to debate different solutions, and question the validity of different approaches. Energy and water are very intertwined – Melbourne currently has a water system with low embedded energy, whereas new options/augmentations will increase the amount of energy required to get water to our homes.

    The use of water tanks is great, a good way to minimise the draw on our potable sources, but if these tanks use pumps then they will also increase the embedded energy in the water we use.

    Let’s keep this debate going to make sure all options are questioned and weighed up appropriately.

  3. says

    Interesting idea.

    I had the same thought as you, though – if the desal plant is going to cost $3.5 billion, couldn’t you give out 3.5 million $1000 rainwater tanks instead?

    I wondered the same about the Sydney desal plant, too.

    I just don’t think we’re thinking about water the right way.

  4. Tracey says

    I’m not convinced…I think we need to learn to manage our own resources first, before we start taking them from another area (which must surely impact the ecology of wherever we take water from). In fact if we all took that attitude in all areas of life/industry, the world would be in a lot better shape than it currently is!

    I agree with Gavin that simply improving Melbourne’s water harvesting capacity is more sensible.

    I currently live in Melbourne (Footscray) and am aware that even under drought conditions Melbourne does get enough enough water for the city’s needs. However, every time it rains a vast amount of water runs off into the river mouths and out to sea, and so cannot be utilised.

    We’re lucky that we’re right at the coast, which means capturing that storm water would not impact users upstream (for complicated, convoluted water rights system see Colorado, USA, where rainwater tanks are illegal because they ‘steal’ water from those upstream!).

    While we have the rainfall it makes sense to a)improve efficiency of use, and include industry in that requirement b)capture and recycle storm-water and c)use recycled waste-water for non-potable uses).

    Why is this less popular with our govt than building a big-ticket item like a de-sal plant or a pipeline? Because small-scale and decentralised solutions offer less opportunity for large profits to big industry.

    Just my cynical opinion! : )

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