Friday, April 03, 2009

Water, water everywhere....

Australians are using less water but their bills are rising, new figures show. Figures released today show that across Australia, the average annual amount of water supplied to urban households in the 12 months to June 30 was down 12 per cent on the previous year.

And conservation strategies, including restrictions, resulted in a 21 per cent drop in residential water use over the six years from 2002-03 to 2007-08, despite a nine per cent jump in connected properties.

But although Australians are collectively turning off their taps, urban water prices have risen steadily.

Well now, tell us something that we don’t know. Did we all think that using less would cost less? Like my electricity bill, the less I use the steadier my water bill rises. Funnily enough, I am writing this as I am online with netbank to pay my – ever increasing despite usage drop – water bill.

But it’s OK. Mr Matthews – a mouthpiece, sorry, chief executive mouthpiece for the National Water Commission – says that these increased bills are funding much needed “infrastructure”. This word – the ‘multi-function polis’ of this century – is the current government catch-all term. I mean we have to pay for desal plants that will make a night out’s piss of a difference. And when the bill comes, with your consumption down and dollar value up, why it’s an “infrastructural” increase.

Mr Matthews explains it all nicely:

"That means that we have been encouraging the diversification of supply and that does cost money.

"We've been encouraging better demand management ... the need to transition beyond restrictions to a more normal situation but never losing site of good water stewardship.

"When we've got those things happening, the chances of (bill increases) in the future will be much reduced."

What a heap of absolute bullshit. The phrases say it: “The chances of”, “when we’ve got to”. Does anyone really believe that water rates will cease rising? That they may “stabilise”? Give me a break.

Urban consumers – some of the most wasteful to be sure – will continue to be slugged whether they install tanks or use near nothing.

Yes “water service providers” in Victoria and NSW were hard hit (a 51% reduction in volumes). This happens when there is no water. Take a look at the NSW storage charts over the last two years. It is as well to remember that some of these “water service providers” buy up properties simply for their water allocations so as they can be on sold. They have a serious vested interest in profligate use – sorry – selling of water.

Ask a Mallee farmer what he pays for water as opposed to cotton farmers at the head of the Darling. Ask Cubby Station what it pays for water.

I love rice – especially Oz rice – and I like to wear cotton. Neither is sustainable in this water-poor country though I’m afraid.

We're using less water but paying more.

non hit wonders

harmonica: jacob
guitar: pete
accompaniment: yamaha automaton
images: jacob (mostly), nick, ann

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Trooble at coal face

Infrastructure Australia is a national statutory body created “to provide advice to Australian governments about infrastructure gaps and bottlenecks that hinder economic growth and prosperity.”

Apparently one of its members, Professor Peter Newman, recently committed thoughtcrime, saying “plans to double the coal export capacity in Newcastle should be abandoned.” He further said...

... the environmental damage done from burning coal meant the construction of new coal loading facilities in what is already the world’s biggest coal exporting port should be stopped now.

“If I was in charge of coal loading facilities, I would say no, don’t do it,” Professor Newman said in an interview with the Herald.

The Ports Minister in NSW, Joe Tripodi, was shocked and “says he now has serious reservations about Professor Newman’s ability to be impartial.”

“Mr Newman needs to decide whether he can comfortably meet his obligations,” he said. “We need to remind him to not allow his personal views to affect his obligations.”

I’m guessing Mr Tripodi believes Prof Newman ought to be more partial to the coal industry and the jobs it provides, as evidently is Mr Tripodi.

Further, perhaps Joe believes all members of Infrastructure Australia — of which Prof Newman is merely one of 11 members — should all subscribe to an unambiguously pro-coal position.

After all, we can’t have something like diversity of opinion on a key national advisory body, can we? It’s scaring more folks than just poor old Joe Tripodi.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

the young guitarist

click to enlarge

“the young guitarist”
photography and processing by jarcob 1981

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