The weekly wash-up (July 5th)

The week that was in river and water news – July 5th, 2013

Water wastage punished in new bills  Melbourne’s Water Future draft plan aims to save Victorians $7 billion by 2050 by increasing the use of rainwater, stormwater and wastewater for non-drinking purposes. Creation of stronger incentives to manage water efficiently [such as through a higher variable consumption component of bills] will be investigated.’

Push to put commercial water interests before environment  A committee has recommended amendments to the NSW Water Management Act to ensure the commercial water supply for towns and industry are ”prioritised above environmental needs”. Currently, environmental needs are given 2nd priority below that of providing a domestic supply of water to towns, utilities and landholders. The commercial supply of water for towns and utilities is third priority.

Water buy-backs better for taxpayers  Both voluntary buybacks of water from irrigators and upgrades to to irrigation infrastructure are designed to return more environmental flows to the Murray-Darling Basin. But a study has found water buybacks are the more cost effective option. The most optimistic estimates are infrastructure upgrades are more than two to three times the cost per megalitre than voluntary buy-backs.

Thai_floods_DanielJulie

Floods in Thailand in 2011 are prompting a new water management strategy for the Chao Phraya River.

Thai water scheme imperils coastal way of life   For centuries, the coasts of the Gulf of Thailand have been an important fishing source that feeds the whole country. A government water management scheme threatens these and other livelihoods through construction of a water diversion canal and flood barriers. Locals say they have not been consulted, or even informed of such plans. Potential flooding of villages and reduced access to water for crops are unresolved issues.

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