Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My Council Shire Notes (3rd April 2018): Consumption Minimisation



News from South Africa should have us very alarmed … and I am not talking about the dull-thud-on-willow variety.

Cape Town is approaching “Day Zero;” the day when the city’s taps will be turned off and water will only be able to be accessed from designated armed-guarded collection points.

That water is a finite resource should concern us all.

Cape Town was warned that climate change would herald drier, hotter weather with less winter rainfall leading to reduced stream and river flows and diminished city water levels but the warnings were unheeded. That was until last year (2017) when three straight years of drought saw the city’s six reservoirs go from 100% of capacity to 26% of capacity.

Then the city moved into action, and now after strict water restrictions were imposed (50 litres per person per day) along with a decline in agricultural usage, Day Zero, which was to have been this month, has potentially been pushed back to July.

The Cape Town situation affects us all on planet earth and that means those of us living in the Upper Hunter Shire too. Basically it warns us that we need to be implementing water-wise strategies now. 

The Upper Hunter Shire Council recognises that diminishing water levels pose a risk to our lives, and so along with NSW government funding for the major capital pipeline and treatment plant projects, has been water-proofing our shire.

And as the water consumers that we all are, we have an important role to play too.

Yes water-consumption charges have increased but that is because water conservation must be encouraged, though through our actual water consumption we still do have a choice over our water charges - for example when we choose to use less water, our water bills will be reduced.

South Africa has warned us that our water habits have to change, and we need to heed their warning.

As climate change embeds itself more and more into our daily lives, our current water habits must be addressed, and this requires leadership from all levels of governments and the community. Council is attempting to do this, and as always welcomes any feedback and suggestions.

And to conclude with that other news from South Africa, in my opinion Steve Smith has shown leadership and bravery, and I abhor that he has been thrown to the wolves - shame on you, Cricket Australia.

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