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The Forum > Article Comments > Water more expensive than oil? > Comments

Water more expensive than oil? : Comments

By Frank Rijsberman, published 16/8/2006

Many countries are coming to terms with the fact free water has run out. Water is available, but at a price.

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Every building in the world is a water catchment for rainwater tanks. Australia is probably representative of the world whereby 3 per cent of households in Australia’s capital cities have rainwater tanks (enHealth Council, 2004).

Greg Cameron
Posted by GC, Wednesday, 16 August 2006 8:51:13 AM
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Is this the everlasting belief in the technical fix? Granted it has served a large proportion of mankind well but there are limits. Yes apart from genetic engineering water use efficiency, robbing some part of the environment for human use seems fine except as you note it deprives a other parts. How much of the rest of nature do we need to sustain our increasing population? Recycle, produce O2 trap CO2 etc.
We are a plague species whose numbers will collapse rather unkindly as what, water, soil, energy etc decline? And insects increase?
The immediate solution will be of course to fight naming naturally all others terrorist and thus beyond any necessity for understanding or compassion, enjoying unrestrained resource use and moral high ground.
Mind you we are already becoming well trained in such mindsets.
Yet to reduce population means tackling questions which only China and India seem to have addressed. The question of limitation is explosive yet the only long term solution. Our treasurer obviously believing in the solution of economic problems sees a population increase for Australia as desirable for the support of the increasing number of elderly.
Yet Australia has real limits of land suitable to agriculture, and declining with Stalinization loss of structure and erosion, of water though to decline with global warming to name a couple and not forgetting our mineral industry can support us for only so long and using Uranium or trapping CO2 adds yet another problem, containment.
So the price of not just water but food, energy and the cost of protection will also rise.
Again this may be limited nationally by ’gated’ deprived communities with death squad control e.g. Sao Paula, the few lasting a bit longer in unsustainable rich comfort
Posted by untutored mind, Wednesday, 16 August 2006 9:54:13 AM
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Many countries are coming to terms with the fact the free ride on building and farming human populations for corporate profiteers has run out. Water is available at the usual free rate, but only if sensible goverments halt unsustainable population growth and corporate profiteering in large cities and spread it evenly across the whole nation.

As new immigrant arrivals only want to live in the big cities they won't want to come here and their absence will quickly solve any water shortage problems.

Its just tough luck for a few profiteers and a good job and justice for the general public.

Big corporations like Telstra and others are not God's gift to Australia. If we had a Federal government that encouraged competitiveness in industry instead of monopolies, this whole water issue would not even be on our radar. Australian corporations are out of control and the sooner we enact legislation to make their CEOs accountable to the Public, as is the case withe any other body that governs our lives in this country, the better off we will all be.

And this whole water debate should sound alarm bells to this nation about impending media MONOPOLY legislation. Monopolies already extend well into the internet safety valve with acquisitions of major search engines and meeting sites and if corporations get the Press we are all going to be easily led to the corporate shearing sheds and abbatoirs.

Lucky Country? Only if you stand and be counted.
Posted by KAEP, Wednesday, 16 August 2006 10:34:57 AM
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Correct Greg also...but of course, rainwater can-and-probably-will-be-taxed-in-the-future by more of the same short-sighted logic that’s displayed in this doubt the "pollies" are enthralled!

Dr, check Sunwater Corporation's charges for water to Queensland farmers...they charge exorbitant water infrastructure charges for dams, channels, etc. to those farmers - i.e., the farmers BUY their allocation of water from the dams, with NO guarantee they’ll be provided with that water for their crops or stock anyway. They also pay drainage charges/ha (whether-they-need-it-or-not) and any water captured is re-sold to the farmers.

Farmers-are-then-charged-for-the-allocated-water-also, whether-they-use-it-or-not...i.e., if the water is not available (drought, town supply gets precedence, mines do too, etc.) then the farmer will have to watch his crops die and still pay for the water...check with families of farmers in Mackay who walked off farms and/or suicided because of disputes or inability to pay because their crops failed as a result.

Additionally, Burdekin River Irrigation farmers pay over $40/megalitre and pretty well buy all the water for irrigation in most years...dry place.

Other areas, like Mackay, where it’s wetter…pay considerably more for their water when it’s in short supply as costs rise accordingly.

The Dr’s catchcry…farmers should pay more for water, begs the questions, "Are you prepared to pay extra for the food they produce, Dr? ...and how many others without your salary package can feed their families, given that scenario?" Well said KAEP...HK and other places with massive discrepancies between rich-and-poor are similar!

In fact, farmers are price-takers and generally receive far less than the real value of their product already.

Burdekin cane farmers, for example, sell all of their sugar on the export market and so offset the balance-of-payments in Australia's favour Dr. Other than crucifying farmers with glib half-truths, what benefits will your article really provide for Australia's immediate or long-term future?

Perhaps you’re suggesting that we import all our stupid would that be considering the defence of our country alone?

Then there’s the level of food contaminants which are accepted in other countries, like China, which our own food standards wouldn’t allow...acceptable in imports, it seems.

Posted by Meg1, Wednesday, 16 August 2006 12:52:45 PM
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Dr, why do some academics choose to perpetrate the lie that water gets used up?...water needs to be used should dispute that, but the argument or inference that it will get used up is simply untrue.

Water is provided by God and nature (not SUNWATER) and when used will pass one-way-or-another back to the earth and be refreshed, renewed...cleaned by mother earth and either return again as rain, in rivers, bores, etc. Provided that dangerous contaminants are removed from the water before it is released into the soil there IS no problem with waste from homes, factories or farms...that can't be resolved. Water doesn't run’s simply contained/held somewhere else.

If harvested and re-used sensibly, there’s no need for the environment, or farmers to suffer as both do presently.

Interestingly, the Burdekin River used to run dry (pre-dam) in many years...ask any old the 'experts' insist that a certain amount of water has to be released from the dam so that river flows are maintained constantly. So, it seems nature ‘benefits’ from these dams too...

The sad reality is that, save the Hinze Dam and the Burdekin Dam and a few less notable others, dams are notoriously known to be built in the wrong place...experts do get things wrong and we all pay...again-and-again-and-again.

The moral of the story...check the facts for pay in the end, the experts have been well paid to provide information but no-one will remember who messed up when the final result isn't a success. You'll still pay and all the ‘experts’ will have been well paid.

Too bad you’ll have no food…perhaps the Indonesians will share? Impossible…! Food aid from the UN? Hmmm…unlikely…too many in line ahead of us…and fewer able to pay. Perhaps you should appreciate those Aussie farmers while you have them and pay them accordingly…and realistically Dr! Don’t make Australia learn the hard way, like Europe did in war time…WW3 is still a possibility…the old scouts motto, “Be Prepared” is as pertinent today as it ever was.
Posted by Meg1, Wednesday, 16 August 2006 12:55:57 PM
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The Queensland Labor Government led by Peter Beattie likes to claim that he can make Queensland drought proof.

Now, I don't know if he has some secret rain making ritual or has watched the movie that says, "If you build it, they will come"...Peter Beattie possibly thinking that building dams will bring the rain.

Australian's need to get off their fat backsides and take control of this and every other issue. Stop handing off our day to day lives for government to control and take the controls back. Demand better, put better solutions into action or drag them out of their government palace by their short and curlies.

Until the Australian's learn that we HAVE to take control of this, nothing is going to happen but sniping politicians and self interest groups kicking this around like a football.
Posted by Spider, Wednesday, 16 August 2006 5:58:45 PM
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