The Silver Lining (?) to drought!

Our latest blog expressed admiration for Australians.  As a people they demonstrate remarkable resilience.    Despite their independent outlook on life, they are prepared where necessary to change their behaviour for the common good. Their attitude towards water conservation is a good example.

To find out more about climate change issues “down under” go to these links:

Australian Update

John Cook’s Website:   Sceptical Science

Australia has experienced numerous years of drought, with the years in the preceding decade being the worst ever.  During this decade urban Australians had to pay a higher price for water and also use less.  This example has attracted the attention of law makers in North America.  A November 2011 study, entitled “Residential Water Conservation in Australia and California”, reached this conclusion:

“Australians, on average, used nearly 200 liters (=50 gallons) less water than their Californian counterparts in 2009. Not only did Australia have less per-capita residential use than California as a whole in 2009, but nearly every major city in Australia used less water per-capita than metropolitan areas in the Western U.S.”

The following paragraphs are taken from that report (references omitted):

“The most recent study in the Australian province of Queensland estimates outdoor water use as only 12% of residential use. However, the variations are small enough that per capita outdoor residential use remains much less in Australia than California. Indoor use estimates are more reliable and consistent than outdoor use estimates.”

“. . . the biggest differences between Australian and Californian residential water use are, in order of magnitude: outdoor water use, toilet use, leaks and faucets, washing machines, other, and shower/bath.  Over half of the total difference in residential water use can be attributed to Australia’s significantly lower rates of outdoor water use. . . . Even when water is not in short supply, many Australian cities limit outdoor water use. In Melbourne, for example, outdoor watering is prohibited between 10:00am and 8:00pm. “

“Australians in nearly every major city pay more than Californians, despite their lower consumption rates. . . . . The higher price of water in Australia likely has contributed to reduced water use.”

Many Canadians use water as if it was free as air.  Industry is no different: for example, the tar sands consume huge amounts of water in the extraction process.

Now, with the possibility of drought facing large areas in the Canadian west, government should act to discourage water consumption.

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