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New water approach to save Victoria 7 billion dollars

Monday, July 01, 2013
Water Minister Peter Walsh today released Melbourne’s Water Future, a draft whole-of-watercycle strategy that will ensure Melbourne households and businesses are not subject to ever increasing water bills caused by poor planning decisions.
“The steep increases in water prices recently announced by the Essential Services Commission are a direct result of the previous Labor Government’s panicked decision to build the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government’s strategy will deliver ample water for all of Melbourne’s growing needs, at a lower price than the approach adopted by the previous State Government.”
Melbourne’s Water Future details the development of a smarter, more sustainable and affordable use of water based on a whole-of-water-cycle management for Melbourne.
An important component of whole-of-water-cycle management is the greater use of rainwater, stormwater and wastewater to conserve the water in our dams for drinking.
“This strategy minimises the expensive use of pipes and pumps to move water long distances across Melbourne and reduces the need for expensive new dams or desalination plants by capturing and using water locally,” Mr Walsh said.
Scientific and economic analysis shows that by increasing the use of rainwater, stormwater and wastewater for non-drinking purposes can save Victoria up to $7 billion by 2050.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to increasing Melbourne’s water security without the need for expensive new dams and desalination plants,” Mr Walsh said.
“Each year 25,000 Olympic sized swimming pools of high-quality drinking water is flushed down Melbourne toilets. We can no longer afford to let the plentiful supply of water that falls on Melbourne each year simply flow down our stormwater drains and out to sea.
“By matching the water source to the right water use we will have enough water for Melbourne’s future population to live in a green, attractive city even through times of drought.”
In 2013 Melbourne is projected to:
· use 374 GL of high-quality drinking water from our dams – much of which is for nondrinking purposes; 
· generate 440 GL of stormwater – polluting our waterways and bays; and
· dispose of 443 GL of wastewater – much of which is, or could be, treated to Class A standard for non-drinking purposes.
The key benefits of adopting this new approach to managing Melbourne’s water includes:
· total savings of $6 billion to $7 billion compared with “business as usual” by 2050;
· reducing harmful nutrients in waterways by 20 per cent through an anticipated 40 per cent reduction in stormwater runoff volumes by 2050;
· up to 45 per cent reduction in mains water demand; and
· up to 35 per cent reduction in energy use in the water sector, with emissions savings of up to 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050.
The Office of Living Victoria is developing Melbourne’s Water Future in collaboration with Melbourne water authorities, Government agencies, developers, local governments and the community.
The strategy is a key deliverable under the Coalition Government’s Living Victoria policy for urban water reform.
“All Melburnians are invited to have their say on Melbourne’s Water Future, either online or in person at one of several community discussion forums to be held across the city in August this year,” Mr Walsh said.
Further information about how Melburnians can have their say on Melbourne’s Water Future is available at www.livingvictoria.vic.gov.au
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Contact: Electorate Office: 274 Campbell Street SWAN HILL Vic 3585 Phone: (03) 5032 3154 Fax: (03) 5032 9483