Shoalhaven River shouldn't be expected to make up for NSW Govt failure to address Sydney water efficiency Greens have condemned the NSW Government for failing to improve Sydney’s water efficiency, exposing the Shoalhaven to future water transfers to prop up dwindling Sydney supplies.

Responding to media reports that WaterNSW is preparing to make water transfers from the Shoalhaven catchment to Sydney’s water supply , the Greens said the Shoalhaven River and Shoalhaven residents shouldn’t have to make up the shortfall from inefficient water use in Sydney.

NSW Greens Urban Water spokesperson Justin Field said the NSW Government has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to local water security. 

“The massive public spending on the Sydney desalination plant has created a false sense of security and the NSW Government has failed to improve Sydney’s water efficiency. Per person water use across NSW has risen under this Government since 2011,” he said.

“They haven’t learned the lesson of the Millenium drought and have left Sydney residents exposed to extreme water restrictions in the future and the Shoalhaven is once again likely to face water transfer to supplement Sydney’s needs.

“Transfers will not occur until new inflows in the Shoalhaven catchment occur, pointing to widespread dry conditions and high levels of evaporation across the state.  These transfers from the Shoalhaven are hugely energy intensive and leave our river system with less water for local use, energy generation and environmental supplies.

“As a general principle, water shouldn’t be transferred across catchments. We need to manage water use within natural catchments in a sustainable way.

“With 100% of the state in drought and suffering it’s driest Autumn since 2006, Sydney’s main water storage levels have dropped a quarter in the past 12 months to just 65%.

“While a 60% level is supposed to trigger the activation of the desalination plant, it may not be fully operational for another 12 months with damage from a 2015 tornado only having been recently repaired.  

“The community is right to be angry about the fact the desalination plant is unlikely to be ready to go when dam levels reach the critical 60% trigger point, but they should be more angry that the Government has squandered the last seven years and failed to invest in water efficiency, programs to improve water security and are now planning to rely on unsustainable water transfers.

“It makes sense to bring in stage one water restrictions in Sydney early to reduce the likelihood of more extreme restrictions down the track and to reduce the need for transfers from the Shoalhaven.

Ultimately we can only address long-term water security issues by getting serious about water efficiency and investing in greater recycling and reuse.

“Failing to improve water efficiency has left the community exposed to high-cost desalination and water transfers and potentially crippling water restrictions in the future,” Mr Field said. 

📷: ABC News

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