Water our liquid gold
It comes as little surprise that latest results from a four-year study have confirmed the significant social-economic benefits associated with recreational and environmental water.
‘Water is life’ as the saying goes and the Wimmera-mallee study is drawing a profound picture that tells us that having access to water means more than simply supply.
Second-year findings of the four-year Wimmera Southern Mallee Socio-economic Value of Recreational and Environmental Water study has revealed that having water in our popular lakes and waterways provides everything from financial benefits and the sustenance of eco-systems, to helping maintain community mental health.
Storage figures and assessment by Gwmwater experts consistently tell us that we have considerable water-supply security across the region, which is comforting. In fact the message is that this security of supply pushes well into the near future.
But as we get our first taste of warm weather and hear news we’ve come through Victoria’s driest September in more than a century, we should take a moment to take stock of circumstances.
Despite the benefits of the Wimmera-mallee Pipeline, we have far from a finite supply of water and it makes sense for us all to start thinking about, if we haven’t already, being water-wise.
This includes exploring the reams of drought-proofing information that accumulated during the millennium drought and being smart about water conservation.
The water study continues to unequivocally reveal the value of recreational and environmental water. It tells us that we need to always try, when we can, to have enough water to meet these needs.
The study will also provide critical information about watering priorities if we experience another long dry.
Raising the concept of water conservation at regional and even state and national levels is a prompt into thinking about how we’ve responded to the millennium drought from a technological perspective.
Earlier this year the CSIRO reported that researchers had developed a new method to turn saltwater into drinking water in a way that was more energy efficient, economically sustainable and cost-effective than current reverse osmosis technology.
The team was working with sponge-like crystals called Metal-organic Frameworks which can be designed to capture, store and release compounds, such as salt and minerals at a molecular level and let only water pass.
Amazing stuff and who knows, perhaps one day, when in the grip of drought or climate change, we in the Wimmera might be able to transform our vast stores of salty groundwater into a quality resource?