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Water Projections

Back in the 1980’s when the baby boomers’ young teens were spending an hour in the shower, and population was 15 million, water was nowhere on the radar as a crisis. It was only just a few years ago that CSIRO became surprised to find that there was no national stock take of water resources in Australia – thankfully they started doing something about it. Now water is well and truly on the radar and people are becoming aware of major dams and their current levels.

An ‘Occasional Paper’ was released this week from an urban water collective, Water Services Association of Australia. The paper is available at http://www.wsaa.asn.au It picks up on the current population debate by linking the ABS population projections to projected water consumption. It shows national urban water consumption increasing from 1,505 gigalitres in 2009 to 2,652 gigalitres by 2056 (up 76%) using the midrange of ABS population projection assumptions.

The analysis of current water consumption trends in this paper looks pretty thin. For example it admits no records of South East Queensland consumption exist for 2003 to 2007 (this is one of the fastest growth regions in the country!). It also has not been able to adjust for the extreme restrictions in Victoria in the base period of the projection. Furthermore there is no indication of how the water is projected to be sourced for this increased consumption and at what cost – just a hope statement that with recycling and desalination plants they are sure we will be able to cope. I think we are still not facing reality but at least some long term indicators are being worked on.

Posted Monday, 19 July 2010

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