Thursday, March 27, 2008

At last we get some common sense into the water debate

Australia's Soviet-style, centrally planned water restrictions will hopefully come to an end soon and be replaced by a more rational water pricing system which will reflect the true cost of water and allow people to use their allocated amount of water where and how they wish. I have written about the absurdity of current Australian water restrictions before (see here). Essentially, current water restrictions allow people to waste as much water as they want to flush their toilets, have endless showers or use old-fashioned and water-wasting top-loading washing machines, yet will not allow growing vegetables, as outdoor watering is restricted irrespective of over-all household water use.

According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald of 28 March 2008, "A new research paper by the Productivity Commission, to be released today, is critical of governments prescribing what households can and cannot use water for during times when water is scarce.

'Such prescriptive rationing denies households the opportunity to choose how to use and conserve water in ways they value most,' the commission found.

It said restricting use resulted in 'hidden costs' of about $150 for each Sydney household.

They included structural damage to buildings, deterioration of lawns and gardens, the cost of new watering systems, time spent on labour-intensive methods of watering, and injuries sustained from carrying grey water in buckets.

The commission also included the rise of 'water rage with neighbours checking the water use of others in ways they would not contemplate for other services such as phone use'."

Now we just have to persuade some of our local Councils to actually follow some rational advice.

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