Urban water: we need a national plan

The Australian Conservation Foundation has urged all parties to commit to a national plan to secure a sustainable water supply for our cities and towns.

“To prepare for the longer droughts and reduced rainfall that are projected to come with climate change it is vital all parties detail strong national plans for Australia’s urban water needs,” said ACF executive director Don Henry.

ACF is urging parties to:

1. Set a national target to increase urban water re-use and recycling from 4 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020

2. Ensure households are highly water and energy efficient within a generation by investing $1 billion annually to retrofit 5 per cent of suitable households per year with rainwater tanks, solar hot water and efficiency measures

3. Introduce water audits and require savings from large industrial and agricultural users

4. Reject dams that threaten endangered species and desalination plants that cause greenhouse pollution

5. Ensure Australia is a global leader for action to tackle climate change so we avoid the worst.

“We live on the driest inhabited continent yet we are among the highest users of water per person in the world,” Mr Henry said.

“Most households are doing a good job meeting tough water restrictions, but our governments can do much more to help secure sustainable water supplies with a strong national urban water plan.

“Any credible national urban water plan will favour environmentally friendly water infrastructure, like rainwater tanks and water recycling, over destructive dams and polluting desalination plants,” he said.

See ACF backgrounder, Solutions to Australia’s urban water challenges .