Letter to Editor (not published)
We have a total of 22,500 litres of storage for rainwater collected from our house roof in Melbourne. We use the tank water for showers, the dishwasher, the laundry, the hot water system and garden watering.
We filled the rainwater tanks in late 2001 when we moved in after a house renovation. We have only added more Melbourne water a couple of times during severe drought periods. This means we have been basically self sufficient for water for around 5 years.
The $3 billion allocated by the Victorian Government for the Wonthaggi desalination plant could equip around 600,000 households with domestic rainwater tank systems that could provide up to 160 gigalitres of water per year that would otherwise be lost as storm water.
This equates to 165 days of Melbourne’s total water consumption based on the current daily usage, and it exceeds the estimated yearly production of 150gl from the proposed desalination plant.
We may not even need the desalination plant if:
- More rainwater tanks were in use
- The sewerage water currently flushed out from ocean outfalls was recycled.
- Logging in Melbourne’s water catchments ceased, which would yield another 30gl of water per year.
At the very least, we need radically improved public consultation about options for Melbourne’s and Victoria’s water strategy rather than unilateral decisions made in Spring Street following secret deliberations.