Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Melbourne recycle your water

The local council at Swan Hill has passed a motion asking the Premier of Victoria to make Melbourne recycle it's water, then it wouldn't have to take water from the Swan Hill area.
Here is the article. And reproduced below. I have been saying this for a few years now.


Call for recycling instead of pipeline

Royce Millar
October 30, 2007

MELBOURNE should recycle its water rather than piping fresh water over the Dividing Range from the drought-stricken communities along the Goulburn River.

That is the view of Swan Hill's council. This week it will ask the Municipal Association of Victoria's state conference to back its call for the State Government to invest in recycling for Melbourne instead of building the north-south, or Sugarloaf, pipeline.

The Swan Hill motion notes that water recycling works well overseas and that purification technology is advanced and "could offer long-term solutions" to Melbourne's burgeoning water demands.

It also doubts the Brumby Government's guarantee to limit the volume of water diverted from the Goulburn to Melbourne to 75 gigalitres a year. "Unfortunately, political history demonstrates such guarantees have a limited life," it says.

The council's motion is likely to get wide rural backing but it is not clear whether it will secure the metropolitan support necessary for success at the association's meeting.

Senior local government figures are understood to be anxious that a successful resolution could embarrass the Brumby Government.

Municipal association president Dick Gross could not be contacted yesterday.

Some Melbourne councillors have already backed the Swan Hill campaign. Moonee Valley Mayor and Greens member Ben Opie said he supported the motion because much more needed to be done to boost levels of water re-use and harvesting in Melbourne.

Cr Opie said local councils were introducing recycling and other water measures but projects were limited.

"Local government budgets don't stretch far enough," he said.

Swan Hill Mayor Gary Norton said his council supported irrigation upgrades to reduce water seepage and evaporation "but we don't like the trade-off", meaning the pipeline.

He said it was not clear whether he would have the numbers to get his motion up on Friday. "But win or lose, we've got the message out there," Cr Norton said.

The State Government backed the pipeline as part of a two-pronged, $4.9 billion water strategy announced this year that also includes the controversial desalination plant at Williamsons Beach, near Wonthaggi.

Under the pipeline plan, up to 450 billion litres of water would be saved through a $2 billion upgrade of the 80-year-old Goulburn irrigation system, including the lining of open channels and installation of automated channel control.

Melbourne would receive 75 gigalitres of the water and the remainder would be shared between the environment and agriculture. The water would be piped 70 kilometres from the Goulburn River, near Yea, to Sugarloaf Reservoir, north-east of Melbourne.