Our additional water can only come from waste water recycling

Mangrove Creek Dam in 2007 at it's low pointMangrove Creek Dam in 2007 at it's low point. Archive 2007

[Forum] Malcolm Brooks’ call for “conserving the Coast’s dwindling water supplies and controlling development ahead of a huge projected population boom” (“Unchecked population growth will have a dramatic impact on our quality of life,” edition 225) is a little exaggerated.

The population of the Central Coast is projected to rise from 311,000 to 414,000, which wouldn’t even make it the biggest local government area in Australia, and hardly a crisis that couldn’t be coped with by any half competent council, although it is notable that Gosford Council failed dismally to cope with much smaller increases when Mr Brooks was Mayor.

Safely out of office, it appears that Mr Brooks now sees more clearly what is required than when he had the power to do something about it.

As for the increased demand for water that will accompany the population increase, this will become an Australia wide issue, as climate change alters our rainfall patterns.

There is a desperate need for a national policy to guide us, since local governments lack the skills and the powers to do what will be necessary.

However, there is no question of where our additional water will come from. It is obvious that it can only come from waste water recycling.

There is plenty of water in the country, the problem is that we just drain it away into the ocean, instead of treating it like any other reusable resource. Europeans have been using recycled water for centuries.

Look at any town that draws its water from the Rhine, so there is nothing against it in theory, but there is no specific technology for adopting such a practice in Australia.

Here is where national research is required, but with a government that won’t even admit there is a climate change issue to be faced, we are going to stumble into serious water deficits totally unprepared with any rational solution.

The idea that preventing urban development west of the M1 is all we need to do is ludicrous.

This is the sort of simple minded idea that is going to get us into trouble.
Perhaps there should be no urban development west of the M1, but that is a separate question that can’t be answered, except in the context of a state wide projection of water resources and a sensible scheme for distributing water appropriately, regardless of artificial local government boundaries that inhibit effective policy making.

Of course, our State Government’s efforts in the Murray/Darling Basin don’t inspire confidence that state politicians have any better grasp of future needs than do our federal representatives, but we certainly have the technical competence in abundance, we just need to apply it.

Email, Jan 21
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy