Water shortage not just a rural problem for Australia

Think of Australian drought and the images that springs to mind are of the parched outback or arid sheep station.

But many of the country's urban centres are also in the grip of a water crisis and the federal government is looking for solutions.

A new study unveiled by Parliamentary Secretary for Water Mike Kelly this week claims that market-driven solutions as well as funding for large scale infrastructure projects could help to solve the problem.

The report Urban Water: A vision for national progress, is published by Global Access Partners, a think tank representing business interests, and says a more competitive market would lead to greater efficiency and therefore more available water.

The Australian government is already funding a number of large-scale projects to ensure a reliable water supply for the country's cities under its Water for the Future programme.

These include the $1 billion Urban Water and Desalination Plan, $250 million National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns, and the $250 million National Rainwater and Greywater Initiative.

"The report looks at the particular challenges for urban water management, highlighted by the drought, in achieving urban water supply investment," said Dr Kelly.

"While we are all aware of the many issues facing irrigation communities, Australia's urban communities also face key water challenges. Climate change means lower and more variable rainfall in many of our cities.

"In the years ahead, Australians will need to work together to adapt to a probable future with less rainfall in large parts of the country. Reports such as this one provide a valuable contribution to policy discussion and urban water reform."

Sam Bond


| desalination


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