Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Jun 14, 2004
Industry & Economy
Columns - Errors & Omissions Expected
Will these laws hold water here?
TAKE shorter showers, wait until you have a full load before using the dishwasher or washing machine, and use the half-flush on your toilet when you can.
These are some of the persuasive suggestions given to residents - not in Chennai but Sydney. "New Level Two mandatory water restrictions will come into force across Sydney, Illawarra and the Blue Mountains on Tuesday, 1 June 2004," announces the Web site of Holroyd City Council, www.holroyd.nsw.gov.au /html/cfs/adm
in/water/ restrictions.htm. And the taboos apply "to all Sydney Water customers including residents, businesses, local councils and government agencies."
Here is a list of don'ts: "No hosing of lawns and gardens except hand-held hosing BEFORE 9:00 am and AFTER 5:00 pm on Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays. No filling of NEW or RENOVATED pools greater than 10,000L except with a permit from Sydney Water. No sprinklers or watering systems AT ANY TIME. No hosing of hard surfaces including vehicles AT ANY TIME."
Hard surfaces are defined to include paths, driveways, floors and buildings. And vehicles include cars, trucks, trailers, caravans, motorcycles and boats. Restrictions don't apply to "drip irrigation, bore water, grey water, recycled water and water used for fire-fighting and related activities". Penalty is stiff: "Fines of $220 apply for customers found to be in breach of the mandatory water restrictions." If you believe somebody is violating the water restrictions there is a number you can call and complain.
Sprinklers are not permitted at any time, says the site categorically, because sprinkler is "an attachment to a garden hose or fixed pipe that can be left unattended to emit water over a given area." Similarly, "hoses must not be left unattended at any time."
New rules specify what are permitted. For instance, one can use "a bucket or watering can to wash and rinse vehicles or water lawns and gardens". You can use water from a rainwater tank, "as long as it is not connected to a Sydney Water main". Hose fitted with a trigger nozzle can be used to clean garbage bins but this should be done "within an official bin wash area or on grass."
There are critics too. "Washing cars is just a drop in an ocean of water waste," notes an article written a few months ago in www.smh.com.au by Prof Derek Eamus, Director of the Institute for Water and Environmental Resource Management, University of Technology.
He cites statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that of all the water used in Australia, 70 per cent is used in the agriculture industry, 14 per cent is used in other industries and only 8 per cent is used by the domestic market.
As a share of the country's gross domestic product, "services accounted for 72 per cent, industry (including mining) accounted for 26 per cent and agriculture accounted for only 3 per cent." Seventy per cent of water to a sector that contributes about 3 per cent to Australia's GDP?
More shocks: "To generate $1 of output from the rice industry, more than 7,000 litres of water are required. Rice is not alone, though. It is just the worst. For the sugar cane industry, more than 1,200 litres of water are needed and for seed cotton, 1,600 litres of water are needed for every single dollar produced."
Go across the globe on the Web to visit www.ci.greeley.co.us, the site of City of Greeley, Colorado, and click city news "Twice a week watering begins May 15!" Watering of private and church lawns, gardens, and trees is permitted on alternate days except between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. between May 1st and October 1st of each year, it notes. "Customers are divided into two divisions. Odd numbered building addresses on odd-numbered days of the month and even numbered addresses on even-numbered days of the month. On the 31st, odd-numbered addresses are allowed to water between 12:01 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and even-numbered addresses between 5:00 p.m. and midnight."
These are the countermeasures for what they call a `mild drought'. In contrast, we seem to be only crying hoarse about water without putting in place laws that can ensure proper water usage.
On second thoughts, however, one doubts if such stringent laws as of Holroyd or Greeley can hold water in our cities.
Stories in this Section
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |
Copyright © 2004, The
Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of
The Hindu Business Line