A story from my home town – Adelaide. Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia, with a population of around 1 million. It’s the driest state in the driest inhabited continent on Earth.
South Australia one of the largest states in terms of land size, but with a total population of only around 1.5 million – so two thirds live in the Adelaide metropolitan area due to much of the rest of the state being semi arid or desert.
For many years, we’ve lived on the razor’s edge of water supply, however, that hasn’t stopped us from being wasteful. We’re also at the tail end of the Murray River system, a source we heavily depend upon but one that is rapidly dying after decades of warnings that such of thing might happen.
South Australians are by no means entirely to blame for the situation – the Murray River runs through several states and all have abused it. It’s gotten to the point that 90% of wetlands along the Murray have disappeared and we’re having a desalination plant built, quite ironically on the site of an old oil refinery.
Regardless of our own excesses, folks in Adelaide are still one of Australia’s great water saving states, around a third of homes have rainwater tanks or rain barrels. More recently, councils across the region cut water consumption by over a third too – from 6 100 000 000 litres to to 3 800 000 000 litres – a saving of 2.3 billion litres. South Australia’s Water Security Minister stated most of the savings were due to improved management of open spaces.
It’s a really encouraging result and one I hope other states take note of. Isn’t it a shame though that it takes such a crisis to get these sorts of results on the board?