MOTION: That the Rudd Government immediately prepare the legislative means or other mechanisms to oblige all State Governments and Territories to require and to fund all Local Government instruments and Councils to modify existing local storm water drainage systems such that storm water collection in nationwide arrays of mini-dams, may be maximised.


Most people would be very much aware that vast quantities of storm water go to waste in just about every city and town in the country. Why havenít State Governments sought to organise Local Government to utilise storm-water for industrial purposes, for parks and gardens and for fire fighting for example? Where drinking quality water is particularly scarce during a drought over rainfall catchments for major dams, the collection and storage of street storm-water would be capable of reducing demand on town water supplies. Various types of collection and storage may be available depending upon local geological conditions.

Largely due to the determination of successive WA Governments to encourage heavy industry to develop close to Perth, the demands on Perthís water potable water supply have been exacerbated. Rather than develop common sense plans to develop heavy industrial areas in the north western Pilbara region where there are plenty of minerals, plenty of LNG supplies and plenty of fresh water, WA Governments seem to lack the wit or the common sense or the common will to oblige heavy industry to go north. Instead the demands of heavy industry in the Perth precinct are to be supplied with desalinated seawater! Bravo!Brilliant! And special commendations to all governments on the political donations take.

In general terms, storm-water could be collected, stored and used for industrial purposes, easily. Itís not quantum mechanics. Coastal councils would be relatively easily able to direct currently wasted storm-water into fenced-off mini-dams as an alternative to piping such water into the nearest estuary or directly to the ocean.

Currently, some inland Local Government Councils would have storm water collection systems to replenish creeks or rivers directly or indirectly, but a lot still goes to waste in many areas, if it does not simply soak into parched ground as an environmental blessing. Failing all else, the creation of artificial wetlands could be an untapped prospect in some instances.

Elsewhere in Australia, the process of charging Councils with responsibility for tailoring storm-water collection systems to their own particular geography and industrial demands would be much simpler and less costly monetarily and environmentally, than building desalination plants.

Most Local Government Councils would have the engineering wherewithal to develop plans from their own repositories of topographical data that would show them where mini-dams could be built to advantage so that proposals and costing could be assessed by State Governments for funding approval with Federal oversight perhaps. Conversely, there would be lots of more or less local firms of consulting engineers willing and able to prepare option papers and plans to supplement those of Councils.

The Iemma Government in NSW seems determined to build a $2Bn desalination plant to supply emergency potable water in the event that Warragamba Dam becomes unusable. An awful lot of street runoff could be collected in mini-dams and used for fire-fighting, for parks and gardens and for industrial purposes and thus reduce the current demand on potable water for such purposes, for $2Bn. Not only that, but such a plant would cost a fortune annually to maintain. Not only that, but virtually, an entire coal fired power station would be needed to supply the energy required to run the proposed desalination plant. Clever government to date - donít think so? It is clear that what the Iemma Government describes as being in the best interests of the State, often is not necessarily so in the view of a majority of voters. Corruption in the ranks, starting at NSW Local Government level, now well documented, puts the lie to the proposition that no democratic change is needed. It is clear that the power hunger of the few who pull the strings sans voter input are in perpetual denial of the need for serious democratic change.


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