Sunday, March 7, 2010
Water! It is getting harder and harder to get.
The CSIRO announced this week that the south west of WA is likely to see a 40-50% reduction in rainfall over the next 30 years or so. This is the continuation of a 'drying trend' that has seen the rainfall over the last 30 years reduced anyway. Predictions are that the climate bands are moving south, with Perth likely to look more like Geraldton's climate over the next 30-50 years.
Our government has been aware of this for some time, and has one desalination plant already in operation, with another to come on-stream by 2012.
Desalination is an expensive way to get water. If there was another way we would do it. There is also the worry of highly concentrated brine being discharged into the oceans, after the process is complete.
Water will be in short supply and expensive. That means we will need to be strategic in our use of water, especially as gardeners and householders.
I have just got my water use bill, and whilst we are shown as using less water than the average in our suburb, I am disappointed. There is a long way to go.
We have a spot for a watertank, as you can see, but no water tank there as yet. In our mediterranean climate, where we have summer drought and winter rain, it is very difficult to build enough water storage on a suburban block to carry us through the summer. The best thing to do with a water tank is to plumb it into the toilets, and use the water in the winter time (when the tank will fill many times) for toilet flushing, so that it can reduce the overall dependence on scheme water for a house over a year. This is a complicated thing to do in our setting, with an older house.
We have instead opted for re-jigging the reticulation in the garden to go entirely to dripper irrigation, which has proved effective. It guarantees less evaporation, and our front garden is showing the benefit in particular.
One nice surprise is that the pomegranate we thought had died in the heat, is this week showing signs of sprouts at its base, which is a great result.
The next task in our drive for water efficiency will involve removing our 1970s versions of toilets, to make way for much more water efficient models. We are saving up and hope these will be installed before next summer. After the garden, the toilet is the next most water hungry place in a suburban home.
I wonder if the rains will come on time this year? We usually look for the break of the season at Easter. Fingers crossed!