Water is an issue on many of our minds in this region. Many possibly believe that we currently have a water shortage in Canberra ; but with three full dams in the mountains and a half-full Googong there is no water shortage. There is however concern about the amount of clean water that is available. This is a land management issue resulting from the very hot recent fires. Any new dams in the mountains will not remedy these land management issues.

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This is no argument for us not to change our ways with water.

From statistics recently published in reports by Environment ACT we can deduce, with some calculation – and checking of ABS stats, that we use overall some 570 litres per capita per day. It also seems that we use in excess of 400 litres per detached house per day on our gardens; 68.4 litres per person per day in our bathrooms; 61.6 litres per person per day in our toilets. If these figures are any where near accurate, should we be proud of them.

It would be good to have some comparative statistics from comparable cities in Australia and overseas in the Environment ACT reports. I understand that Sydney people use overall 300 – 400 litres per capita per day.

There must be many ways for us to do better.

In the past Canberra householders were encouraged to plant water hungry gardens to enhance the garden city environment.

Public agencies need to make smarter use of water without compromising the quality of our urban environment. This is particularly so with respect to our public parks, playing fields and roadside plantings.

The ACT Government does not require a water efficiency audit in the buildings it leases. This policy should change.

Consideration should be given to raising the kl price with rising demand. Currently, with the front loading of the water and sewerage supply charge on water and sewerage accounts, those residents who are low water users pay a higher net kl price than heavier users.

The impartiality of ACTEW in contributing to our water policy debate should be questioned. It is a corporation which has a monopoly on Canberra ‘s water storage and supply and, logically, an interest in increasing revenue from the sale of water.

WVCC will be hosting a public meeting at the Hellenic Club, Orpheus Room, 7.30pm Wed 3 rd March 2004 re Woden roads, cycle paths, road signs, stop lights etc. All welcome.

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