water vs population : what pollies think

  1. 3,816 Posts.
    It seems that Thurlow and the Greens concur, but at least the Greens are honest about the degradation in material living standards that would reslt from an increasing population.

    Billy

    26 September 2004 © The Canberra Sunday Times

    Tapping into our potential
    By David Seale

    ALL the water supply and conservation issues aside, Canberra would struggle
    to maintain a population of more than 400,000 people, it was suggested at a
    public discussion yesterday.

    Twenty five people attended the discussion, themed Water and people: how
    much more can Canberra grow? At Havelock House in Turner.

    Speakers from the four major ACT political parties - Bill Wood (Labor),
    Vicki Dunne (Liberal), Roslyn Dundas (Democrats) and Charley Pahlman
    (Greens) - took turns outlinging their views on the region's worsening water
    shortage.

    Despite the frank discussion of what needed to be done, namely better
    conservation, recycling and the use of more frugal plumbing equipment,
    president of the Canberra branch of Sustainable Population Australia, Giff
    Jones, said the speakers had missed the point.

    It was not until one of his members, Jenny Goldie, put the question of
    ultimate population size to the quartet in the dying stages of the two-hour
    meeting, that a tentative response was given.

    Mr Wood would not give an estimate to within 50,000, but when pressed,
    thought somewhere greater than 400,000 was achievable (roughly in keeping
    with the Government's Spatial Plan, which provided for the maximum of
    460,000 by 2032).

    Mrs Dunne was also reluctant, but thought 400,000 was about the collective
    peak for the ACT and Queanbeyan, which used the same water stocks.

    "We're really not far off (reaching that number)", Mr Jones said.

    "So there isn't much room for growth, and what that means, and what nobody
    really addressed, is just how much longer can we continue with this thing
    that all political parties say: they're in favour of continued growth to
    keep the economy and society rolling along, but we're running up against
    resource constraints."

    Ms Dundas, meanwhile, threw Ms Goldie's question back on the audience -
    which resoundingly thought 323,000 Canberrans, already slugged with Stage 3
    water restrictions, was sufficient - and chose not to participate in what
    she deemed crystal ball gazing. She did, however, feel the Government,
    through accelerated land release and redevelopment, was encouraging growth
    too aggressively.

    Mr Pahlman thought a reduction in water use was paramount, citing figures
    that the average Canberran used 4000 l a day - 20 more times more than the
    global average - and that population growth was not the detrimental factor.

    As for he proposed construction of a new dam, Mrs dunne said the Liberals
    were committed to the Tennent dam option, costed at $131 million.

    Labor, however, was still unsure whether another dam was the solution, and
    would conduct more research.

    The Democrats thought water recycling was the answer, hoping to have 100
    percent of the ACT's stock recycled by 2030.


 
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