WATER UTILITIES

The Greens (WA) believe that:

  • Western Australia faces increasing pressure on water supplies with continued growth in population and industry and as a result of the effects of climate change (see also The Greens (WA) Climate Change & Energy policy)
  • with declining rainfall, the South West of the State in particular faces a significant challenge to meet its water needs in a sustainable way
  • water utilities have a major role to play in meeting that challenge by promoting cost-effective and environmentally sound efficiency and recycling measures

Aims
The Greens (WA) want:

  • significant reductions in per capita water demand through smarter water use
  • transparent, public consideration of water demand management and supply options on a ‘triple bottom line’1 basis
  • continued public ownership of essential scheme water infrastructure
  • appropriate forms of subsidy for scheme water customers in the interests of equity and social justice and recognising that water is a necessity for life.

Measures
The Greens (WA) will initiate actions and support legislation that:

  • reform the laws governing water utilities, so that they have the function of providing water conservation services as well as supplying water
  • ensure that scheme water supply and demand management options are considered in a public, transparent way
  • ensure that assessment of water supply and demand management options is undertaken on a ‘triple bottom line’ basis1, and includes an assessment of the energy costs of different options
  • where possible, ensure the energy requirements of water infrastructure are met with low or zero emissions energy
  • establish long-term, binding water conservation targets on water utilities
  • research and trial alternatives to the present wastewater systems that dispose to the ocean water which is suitable for other uses
  • develop systems to recycle and re-use wastewater
  • review the role of the Economic Regulation Authority in the pricing of water services to ensure that prices for water at the minimum allocations do not penalise people living on low incomes
  • ensure all large water utilities, including the Water Corporation, publish the direct electric power consumption of their operations
  • promote the use of rainwater tanks as an alternative water source in appropriate areas
  • promote fit-for-use water2 usage, in particular in regard to industry and the re-use of waste water
  • set targets to reduce water consumption by industry, commerce and the community, making appropriate use of subsidies and incentives
  • require water sensitive urban design principles in subdivision planning, housing and building design (see also The Greens (WA) Sustainable Settlements policy)
  • support the development of efficiency, re-use and conservation proposals
  • ensure that all current and future water utilities do not draw groundwater at an unsustainable rate

(See also the Australian Greens Water and Inland Aquatic Environments policy)

Glossary

  1. ‘triple bottom line’ – a method of measuring performance/defining objectives that considers the economic, social and environmental outcomes.
  2. fit-for–use water - water that is treated to an appropriate quality level for its intended end use(s).
Authorised by Lynn MacLaren © 2017

Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC - Member for South Metropolitan Region Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia