Australia is the driest populated continent on earth.
During 2009, water storages in many cities and towns became perilously depleted. Some to below 10% capacity.
Our nation's water managers regurgitated the get-out-of-jail-free explanation conveniently used for decades by politicians;
When in doubt, blame the drought.
Then they pushed the panic buttons…..new pipes to divert water from here to there. Recycling sewage. Desalination. Water saving devices and regulations.
So how did we get into this mess?
I keep wondering just how much different the principle of supplying water for a town or nation is to what we had to do in the early years at GOF's Paradise.
We had to build a dam to provide adequate year-round reserves of water for domestic use, and to grow food for ourselves, and have surpluses to sell to make our living.
We installed tanks, pipes and pumps to move the water around.
None of this involved rocket science.
Before constructing the dam I had pangs of environmental guilt about flooding a beautiful fern gully, but it occupies only 1% of our total area, and is now home to platypuses, waterlilies, fish and birds.
We also planted 5 acres of forest to encourage mother nature's forgiveness.
Governments of Australia in the early 1900's had a vision. One that included the construction of many inland water storages.
We once had water enough to waste on inefficient irrigation practices, and public urinals in a constant state of flush.
How did we get from that to the legislatively enforced desertification of suburbia we now have?
Drought, no doubt has contributed, but we've had that in the past.
Perhaps that our population has doubled since the last major storage dam was constructed might coincidentally have something to do with it?
What to do?
Zero population growth. My previous deliberations on this subject were as popular as putting my mongrel dog into the Royal corgi breeding kennels, so I will explore the remaining possibilities.
Conserve and recycle. Good, but someday our increasing population will catch up with the limits of that possibility too.
GOF's logic would impertinently suggest that once a town's dam is empty with no facility to refill it, then any of its programs for conserving and recycling water will instantly become null and void. Like the town itself.
Build new dams in strategic locations which are periodically subject to flooding. We all understand that some personal money kept in the bank is some protection against the inevitable financial "rainy day". Why then should Governments not ensure maximum water storage as a buffer against drought. Research could also be directed into methods of limiting evaporation from those storages.
Let politicians dream like they did 100 years ago and have the conviction to put the dreams into reality. Affected landowners facing eviction or a life of treading water will naturally object to dam construction.
Offer them compensation of double market value and most of their objections will evaporate. (During construction of the Hume Dam last century an entire town was relocated.)
Environmentalists will complain vehemently, and that is their right. Trade them "5 acres of forest" and some platypuses and birds to play around with, and let them know how their children will love water sports, and fun with a fishing line, and be nutritionally enriched by the vegetables they will be able to once again grow in their backyards.
Failure to adopt these alternatives leaves us with only one other.
We must get the water where mother nature always found it.
In the ocean.
Now perhaps that will require something a little more like rocket science.