Preparing for the next drought: saving water, money and the environment
Greens MP John Kaye and Greens candidate for Marrickville Fiona Byrne today launched the Greens campaign policy for more government spending on domestic water efficiency and reuse measures to bring down household bills and prepare Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra for the inevitable next drought.
Key measures include increasing the number of households participating in Sydney Water's efficiency programs, requiring outdoor pool owners install rainwater tanks and pool covers, ensuring all new medium and large scale housing developments install 'next generation' on-site neighbourhood and precinct local treatment and reuse systems and reinstating and promoting the water wise ‘Love Your Garden Program’ axed by the Keneally government (Read full plan here
Greens NSW MP John Kaye said:
"The La Nina has brought good rains and topped Sydney's storages up but it will not last.
"When Sydney returns to lower rainfall conditions, the Greens want households to be ready with better planned gardens and higher efficiency appliances.
"Unlike the desalination plant these are not wasted expenditures sitting idle or being used when they are not needed. They are sensible investments in the future to keep household water bills down and make sure that the dams are not drained when the rains stop.
“The Greens water efficiency plan would result in annual water savings of 44,915 ML per year which is 9 percent of Sydney’s annual water consumption and cut the average household water bill by $243 per year or almost 25 percent.
"Approximately 80 percent of NSW households still have top loading washing machines, which use up to three times the amount of water compared to a modern front loader.
"The Keneally government's rebate scheme has only reached 11 percent of households. It is time to promote the rebate to reach an additional 25 percent of households over the next four years.
"NSW Labor has lost focus on water savings measures. They have deserted households while water bills are rising.
"The Greens want to invest in households to make water savings that are good for the environment and good for the economy," Dr Kaye said.
Greens candidate for Marrickville Fiona Byrne said:
"Sydney's dams are doing well at the moment at about 71 percent full but we have to prepare for the long run.
"Last time Sydney went into drought, Labor panicked and built an expensive, destructive and unnecessary desalination plant.
"The Greens want households to get ready for the next drought by improving their water efficiency.
"Not only will this clip hundreds of dollars off water bills but it will make the desalination plant irrelevant, further saving millions of dollars a year in operations costs.
"Less than 1.4% of Sydney households were able to participate in the Love Your Garden program before the Keneally government axed it.
"Marrickville residents do love their gardens. They are keen to find out how they can keep their plants healthy without using lots of water, but Labor pulled the plug on the highly cost-effective program to help them.
"Outdoor water use accounts for about 25 percent of the average household's consumption and up to 70 percent for the very keen gardener. The Keneally government is denying help to the green thumbs that want to become green water users.
"The Greens will reinstate the scheme and make sure that 15 percent of Sydney households use it over the next four years.
"Using drought tolerant species and carefully locating plants to minimise the need for watering can save money and reduce the need for water infrastructure while creating pleasant gardens spaces," Ms Byrne said.
For more information: Alison Orme - 0432 332 104