Friday, 20 June 2008

Wrong End of the Stick

I can't help reacting to this.

Water is plentiful. There's lot's of it. And we can reuse it.

Water is the ultimate plentiful, renewable resource. We live at the bottom of a huge recycling system.

Now, I care about the environment, but I still think you've got to get things right. I can't believe it when an environmental spokesperson says things like this in the Sydney Morning Herald

"Water is a scarce resource that is only going to become more scarce with climate change and we must readjust our habits on a permanent basis, not just when dam levels get low."

Water is not a scarce resource. It is plentiful. Some theories suggest that's why there is life on earth, plentiful water. It is unevenly distributed, for sure. In some places it is scarce but Sydney is not one of them.
And how will climate change affect Sydney's water? Isn't the dominant theory that the polar ice caps will melt and there will be more water in the global water system, that ocean temperatures will rise, wouldn't that make Sydney more tropical, more wet?

I'm not sure why environmentalists say things like this.

* Is it all too emotional to think clearly?
* Do you have to follow the party line to show how environmental you are?
* Do you have to overstate the case in order to get heard?
Or is it all three feeding back into a great sensationalist loop?

I don't know. All I know is that common sense sometimes goes out the window when we start talking about climate change.

There are some issues with water use:

1. Waste. We are used to luxury. For too long we have just poured water down the drain. That should stop.

2. Inefficient Collection. In the early days the policy was to discourage private water collection in order to subsidise the public infrastructure. When it rains on Sydney, most of it is unused. So get a tank.

3. Demographics. Infrastructure (dams etc) has not been increased at the same rate as population growth. So get a tank.

So, I'm all for permanent changes in water use. Reuse water - wash the car on the lawn etc. Reduce water - save up flushes etc. Recycle water - use grey water to flush the loo.

But I also think we have to get the thing right.
Water is plentiful, but it's also valuable, in fact essential, so let's use it wisely.

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