Investing In Water Security

one of my lime trees suffering from a fortnight of gales. The curled leaves are a sign that this evergreen tree may not survive to see another summer because we have not yet entered our windy season which is from late winter into spring.

Level Five watering restrictions came into force in Brisbane this week. On average, each person in Brisbane uses about 198 litres of water per day. Brisbane City Council wants to reduce this to approximately 140 litres of water per day.

This target will be hard to achieve as we are entering our long, dry season and 1,200 people are moving to SE Qld every week, adding to existing demand for water. Each new resident will require additional water to generate additional power from water guzzling coal fired power stations, to construct new roads, homes, grow more food, and to have water services where they work and live, etc.

Existing swimming pool owners are allowed the luxury of topping up their pools using town water until 1st July, after which they must use rainwater from their own tank, or buy water to top them up from areas outside Level Five watering restrictions, or use town water as a last resort if three of the following measures are fitted: a. a swimming pool cover; b. water efficient taps and showerheads; c. water efficient toilets; d. water efficient washing machines. Gardeners get no such leniency.

Our home uses 350 litres of water a day, so our personal daily consumption rate is 116 litres of water and we recycle this for growing food. Little changes for us.

Yesterday ABC News Qld reported that Brisbane City Council will not guarantee to extend rebates for rainwater tanks beyond June because too many people have been doing the right thing and they’re over budget. Rebates are up to $750 with an extra $100 available if the tank is connected to taps inside the home. If true, this is a disaster for conscientious residents keen to meet the 140 litre daily use target.

Other news yesterday reported that thieves have stolen 12,000 litres from a 16,000 litre rainwater tank of the Fortitude Valley Junior Rugby League Club. Police are investigating this water theft.

This indicates how valuable water has become. Last week I found out that 10,000 litres of carted water (from outside Brisbane) currently costs $1,000. And the price of water in Brisbane is going nowhere but up.

I wonder if you can insure your tank water?

I strongly recommend that anyone that can install a rainwater tank do so even if they get no rebate because:

the Qld government cannot guarantee continued supply of safe drinking water. None of their infrastructure plans will be operational before this city runs dry;

there’s a chance that we may get heavy falls of rain and this could fill a tank and ensure your own personal water security;

the rising value of water makes a new tank a worthwhile investment – you could sell it for more than the value of a Brisbane City Council rebate.

A gardening tip to Bayside gardeners – stake young trees, mulch them and water them regularly, especially during windy weather. The Bayside region enjoys its coastal breezes but during drought these rapidly desiccate plants, so much so that saplings are liable to be blown down and even if regularly watered this may be insufficient to keep foliage hydrated.

Jerry Coleby-Williams