Reservoirs across Australia are recording dwindling inflows as the climate warms and dries, a trend that is likely to continue and force cities, including Melbourne and Sydney, to bolster the security of water supplies.
A new study by University of NSW scientists published in the Water Resources Research journal examined streamflow data for 222 catchments and applied six of the latest climate models. All models forecast drops in supply.
“We are looking at an average of 20 per cent reduced reliability in the future across all the catchments considered,” said Ashish Sharma, a professor at UNSW’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and an author of the report.
The Berejiklian government is yet to commit to a source of electricity to power the expansion of desalination in the state, potentially locking in a significant new source of greenhouse gas emissions for NSW.
The move has sparked demands from Labor, the Greens and independent MPs for the government to protect households from higher water bills to fund the expansion, given it stands to pocket $2.5 billion in dividends from Sydney Water between 2018 and 2021.
The desalination plant in Sydney, Australia, which creates 250 million litres of vital drinking water per day, has an unexpected benefit of also attracting close to four times as many fish to the area, researchers revealed on Thursday.
Now, a seven-year study by Southern Cross University (SCU) and the University of New South Wales has shown that in the areas where the plant discharges it’s excess salt — roughly 300 metres offshore — fish numbers have exploded by 279 percent.
Sydney Water has submitted a revised submission to the Independent Pricing Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a proposal that would see annual water bills rise by $30 a year with dam levels on Tuesday sinking to 46.3 per cent.
In a NSW Parliamentary speech on the drought, NSW Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord cheekily told a friend that The Jewish House’s Rabbi Mendel Kastel can still continue to pray for rain, but we also have to upgrade the Sydney Desalination Plant.
Mr Secord, who is also NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair was speaking about Labor’s in-principle support for upgrading the desalination plant, which turns ocean water into drinking water as the State is gripped in drought.
Accompanied by his high-powered delegation, Prime Minister Bainimarama said the visit to the plant was crucial because it would assist the Government in setting up similar desalination plants, particularly in the maritime islands such as the Lau Group and Yasawa.
The Fijian Government aims to allocate resources for sustained maintenance and construction of new water treatment plants, reservoirs and reticulation systems, rural water schemes, development of groundwater sources, setting up of desalination plants in the maritime region, and distribution of water tanks in rural areas.