Tuesday, 28 August 2007


This is not a skippity doo moment, although it well could be, if I could get over being so furious with this blastard government and their crazy water rules.... There I was, standing at the bench cutting up lots of vegies for tonight's soup - all from MY garden - pumpkin, celery, fennel, parsley, garlic,and I haven't finished yet, when I heard a bloke on the radio talking about that horse flu and how it will effect businesses all over Australia and that some people are going to sue the quarantine office for letting it in. Well, I think we would all be better off without racing of horses or cars and betting of any kind. I would bet there are no restrictions on the use of water at those stables and what is that producing ??
Someone from SA Water was on the other day explaining how, in the last year, Adelaide households had used 14% less water than in previous years. And that it is estimated that gardens use 30 - 40% of total household usage.What is more is that of all the water taken from the Murray, the whole of Adelaide (industry and all) uses 9%. So what this means is that water restrictions as they stand used 14% less of the 9% we usually use and, of this, about 1/3 went on gardens. This amounts to about 1/2 of that wasted in leaks in infrastructure. Basically it is pointless and ruining gardens and green spaces that mean so much to a lot of people.The only people forced to save water currently, in the city, are gardeners. Businesses, schools, industry and offices etc have no restrictions.

My idea is to force everyone connected to a meter to reduce their water consumption (say, based on the average of the last 5 years) by a fixed percentage, maybe 20%. That means every meter - all office blocks (where people often shower and toilets are usually not even dual-flush),
all industries (where water is used once and then goes down the drain into the Torrens etc), all restaurants, shopping centres, all households....EVERYONE. This way we could use it how we like AND we would save huge amounts because industry will always find ways to comply when they really have to.

Cheltenham racecourse should become a wetland and possibly all 17 of those schools they want to close down could too. This would make wonderful spaces for wildlife, instead of for cramped housing full of hard surfaces and more problems. Also all storm water should be cleaned to an industry standard and piped off to make concrete, steel, wash machinery etc and potable water should be kept for the purposes it is meant to be for a civilised society.

What do you think? Why are we accepting all the blame for this water thing when we are the ones restoring the soil to a better condition than ever, burying carbon, planting trees and growing our own food and caring for our earth ?

Andrew, there are no photos because I want people to read and imagine..


Maggie said...

I agree Kate, lots of vege gardeners have been talking on the radio about how absurd it is. There are no limits on in house water use, only on gardens. I think kitchen gardeners should stage some kind of demonstration!.

gardengal said...

We should all be writing to Maywald.
and make sure we she knows what we think of their so called "sustainability policy".
What a green wash!

I think the government has failed us all. They've had plenty of time to help Adelaidians transition to serious ways of conserving water rather than this tinkering about the edges. At the very least they could have given prior warning that watering would be banned in September to give people time to prepare.

Personally I think there should be excess water bills, like in the good old days. Then those people who are using 6million litres per year in a suburban house will have an incentive to stop. (I read about this house in the advertiser but now I can't find the article).

And then those of us who choose to shower in buckets and not flush the toilet can water to their hearts content but as it is, this will just return Adelaide to the desert environment it was when I was a kid.

And of course I believe that food plants should be exempt from the harshest restrictions. If the drought is due to global warming and one of the big contributer is "food miles" then encouraging people to grow their own food makes sense.

Andrew said...

Hi guys and gals
Glad to see water issues raising their head here on the Blog; 'water is life', particularly to a gardener.
It's easy to rail against Governments, and I used to do that. Now I think its a waste of energy, as they are largely 'reactive' rather than innovative.
My own reaction has been (as I have explained elsewhere on this blog) to look for new and clever ways to deal with water restrictions rather than to try to change the system by shouting at it. (Although, it must be said, I do feel strongly that kitchen gardens should be exempt from water restrictions, and actively encouraged for all the reasons stated, such as 'food miles', nutritional content and so forth.)
My real compassion is for our professional growers, whose lifework may well lie in ruins after another year of drought, with only 13% water allocation in SA, 5% in Victoria and 0% in NSW. Once fruit trees die, good folk will be forced off the land.
Behind this, there is the stark fact that there is no more water left in the system or its reservoirs. On top of that is the knock-on effect of rising salinity levels caused by the drought; these will make what water supplies we get unusable; simply toxic to our soils.
I've purchased my water in advance this year, by buying rainwater tanks to capture 60,000 litres of winter rainfall for the garden, and mulching heavily to keep what winter rainfall there is in the soil profile 'in there'.
But it's going to be tough...

Kate said...

60,000 litres still isn't enough !If we don't get rain and you plant enough to feed your family, all your water will be gone by Christmas, Andrew !! I object to watering on top of the mulch with a watering can as this wastes nearly all the water when my dripper system waters under the mulch, at the plant roots.I object to there being no restrictions on anything EXCEPT gardens!

Andrew said...

Yep, I agree that 60kl isn't enough; I'll be hanging out for thnderstorms!
Last year I wrote an comprehensive case to SA Water for my home vegetable garden to be exempt from water restrictions. I mentioned that I was mulching, recycling water, testing water saving devices, had written a book on vegetable gardens (I sent them a copy), was installing rainwater tanks, rode a bike to pick up food we didn't grow, saved seeds, didn't water the lawn or the native garden at the front blah blah blah.
All I got back after three months waiting was a form-letter saying "Water Sunday mornings between 5am and 8am, and use a watering-can at other times". In other words, conform to the status-quo...
I can understand your anger, Kate, and by all means tackle the bureaucrats if you have the energy. I've expended all mine, and am now channeling it towards finding a smart solution outside their system.