Level 6 Watering Restrictions

Many Brisbane residents are doing the right thing at their own expense while being forced to subsidise wealthy water wasters like the Lytton refinery and South East Queensland’s breweries

The Queensland government, and the Water Commission in particular, continue as the state’s arch water wasters…

People who grow food at home are not exempt from watering restrictions. Some of us do this to save money so we can repay our mortgages.

‘Target 140’ means the government wants personal daily water use to be limited to 140 litres, with the warning that if this target isn’t collectively met, harsher restrictions will apply, including a total ban on outdoor watering. However, they define excessive water use as more than 200 litres of water per person per day or 800 litres per household, so what they are talking about is ‘aim for 140, hope for 200 and accept up to 800’.

From 23rd November:

* Gardeners who recycle grey water on their gardens beware! They will still be subject to “a complete outdoor watering ban if our performance under Target 140 falters” according to the residential restrictions fact sheet;

* New pools and spas can still be built and filled and you can top them up with mains water if your rainwater tank runs out, but fish and frog ponds can only be filled or topped up by bucket with mains water;

* Gardeners are allowed to bucket water between the hours of 4 – 7am or 4 – 7pm. Afternoon watering is great news for pathogenic fungi, which relish foliage that remains wet after sunset;

* Gardeners are encouraged to waste water on newly planted gardens, including lawns. They’re advised to ‘water them for one hour on the day of establishment and for one hour each day thereafter for 14 days’. In dry weather a good gardener would water new gardens and turf twice weekly for the first fortnight, then once weekly for the next four weeks only. Watered this way, plants and lawns establish better.

Eight waterings over six weeks uses less water, but why should that influence the Water Commission?

Ten percent of SEQ’s homes have now installed rainwater tanks. This is good news, but we haven’t yet got sufficient tanks on commercial and residential premises to avoid the need to build Traveston Dam. Residents are doing the right thing at their own expense (minus a modest rebate).

Brisbane’s Mayor has given the local oil refinery it’s Christmas present: a guaranteed supply of recycled water from Wynnum’s sewage plant, saving these Global Warming profiteers the embarrassment of having to sign a cheque. Wynnum residents have been warned that, by using local, salty aquifer water for drinking we should expect it to taste and smell off. Here Campbell Newman has done the wrong thing, subsidising the rich by using everyone else’s money.

Other businesses using more than 10 million litres a year, like our coal-fired power stations and breweries, need only submit a ‘water efficiency management plan’ to keep in the business of draining every last dam in SE Queensland dry by the end of summer 2008.

Jerry Coleby-Williams