The latest Greenie brainwave to avoid building dams. Much of Northern Australia is experiencing severe floods so "drought" is not the problem. Catching and distributing the water is where governments have been failing -- due to Greenie pressure. With the huge amount of "stimulus" money available for infrastructure, it is a pity that there are no plans for a big North/South water pipeline. But the Greenies would oppose that too, of course
HOUSEHOLDERS would be charged for each flush under a radical new toilet tax designed to help beat the drought. The scheme would replace the current system, which sees sewage charges based on a home's value - not its waste water output. CSIRO Policy and Economic Research Unit member Jim McColl and Adelaide University Water Management Professor Mike Young plan to promote the move to state and federal politicians and experts across the country. "It would encourage people to reduce their sewage output by taking shorter showers,recycling washing machine water or connecting rainwater tanks to internal plumbingto reduce their charges,''Professor Young said. "Some people may go as far as not flushing their toilet as often because the less sewage you produce, the less sewage rate you pay.''
Professor Young said sewer pricing needed to be addressed as part of the response to the water crisis. "People have been frightened to talk about sewage because it is yucky stuff, but it is critically important to address it, as part of the whole water cycle,'' he said. "We are looking at reforming the way sewage is priced and this plan will drive interest in the different ways water is used throughout Australia.''
The reform would see the abolition of the property-based charge with one based on a pay-as-you-go rate and a small fixed annual fee to cover the cost of meter readings and pipeline maintenance, Professor Young said. The pay-as-you-go rate would provide financial savings for those who reduce their waste water output.
Professor Young and Mr McColl will promote the plan nationally through their Droplet, a newsletter whose 6000 subscribers include state and federal politicians, water policy specialists and economists around the country. Professor Young said a sewage pricing plan, like the one proposed, was already used in the US. "In places like the City of Bellaire, Texas (a virtual suburb of Houston), they do it and the system seems to work,'' he said.
"As nearly all of (the homes in) mainland Australia's cities and towns already have water meters, introduction of a volumetric charge, such as that used in the City of Bellaire, would not be difficult to implement.'' Mr McColl said the plan had to be viewed in the context of "the crucial issues surrounding water resources'' in Australia. "We should be prepared for the (drought) situation we are going through now to occur again, as well as the potential impact of climate change, so we have to act now for the future,'' he said.
Floods hit NSW, Queensland and WA while boy drowns in Darwin
So much for the "drought" Greenies keep talking about. But reality has never been important to Greenies. They live in a world of fantasy and superstition
EVEN while firefighters are still battling bush infernos in scorched Victoria huge amounts of Australia are under floodwaters. Rains have eased, but more than 4000 people remain isolated by flood waters in parts of northern New South Wales, the State Emergency Service (SES) says. Heavy rains falling since Friday have soaked large parts of the state between Bourke and Sydney, but began easing last night, SES director general Murray Kear said.
"We've got about 4,000 people still isolated along the Bellinger River at the communities of Bellingen, Darkwood and Thora,'' Mr Kear said. "Those communities are isolated by the Bellinger River, which we are monitoring and has showed a slight lowering. "There have been no signs of an increase overnight, with no further rain, and the river is steady at about 5.3m currently.'' The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts a further 100mm of rain in the area today, but Mr Kear said satellite images showed the rain falling over the Pacific Ocean.
At Bourke in the state's central north, where a natural disaster zone has been declared, 200mm of rain has fallen in the past few days, equivalent to two-thirds of the city's annual rainfall. Between Bourke and Sydney and stretching to the coast, the SES has received more than 2000 calls for assistance since Friday. "We've conducted nine flood rescues across the north coast - people stranded in vehicles, et cetera,'' Mr Kear said. Last night and early today, the SES received 100 calls for help in the greater Sydney area from people beset by water inundation.
In far North Queensland flooded Gulf of Carpentaria communities and properties have been cut off for six weeks and face another six weeks in isolation, The Courier-Mail reports. As cooped-up residents go stir crazy from a month of isolation and as emergency fodder drops begin, there have been reports of feral pigs and dingoes feasting on the carcasses of dead cattle and snakes taking refuge in and around homes. "We found an olive green python skin about 12ft long (3.6m) in my craft room," Burke Shire mayor Annie Clarke, of Brinawa Station, said yesterday. "And our highest dry ground has been under the house where there's a fair few brown snakes. The browns tend to make you lift your skirts and go like hell.
Premier Anna Bligh said yesterday the Croydon-Normanton flood zone, the Norman, Flinders and Cloncurry river lower reaches would be the priority for $3m worth of helicopter drops.
In Western Australia's Pilbara region two national parks have been closed and mining activity disrupted after heavy rainfall. The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has closed all roads in the Millstream-Chichester National Park and all gravel roads in the Karijini National Park, PerthNow reports. Falls of up to 250mm caused widespread flooding in creeks and rivers in the Pilbara last night. Severe flooding in rivers and creeks at Millstream had resulted and water levels were set to rise in the next few days as heavy rain was forecast to continue. At Karijini, the park was closed with gorges at risk of flash flooding and landslides.
Rio Tinto Ltd said today that its Pilbara iron ore operations were being impeded by heavy rains and high winds, and it had evacuated stranded staff in the region by helicopter. And the Chinese operator of a Pilbara mine admitted today that workers had ridden on a grader to escape floodwaters but denied union claims it had put them at risk.
In the Northern Territory a swollen creek claimed the life of 13-year-old Daniel Browne yesterday despite the heroic effort of three mates to save him. Andrew Demetriou, Tiernan Anderson and Morgan Wise - all 15-year-olds - were the first to jump in and try and save Browne after his foot got tangled on rope and he drowned in the swollen Rapid Creek in Darwin's northern suburbs. The boys said they could not touch the bottom and that the 3m-deep water was fast-flowing. "It was so wet, wild and running quite fast," Morgan said.
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