Water use experts say that Melbourne’s water prices should be raised to encourage efficient water use as a sustainable water supply strategy.
The Victorian government’s projected water price increase is not sufficient to promote efficient water use.
“There’s not a lot of evidence that shows that pricing of water controls demand of water and efficient use,” Environment Victoria CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy said. “I support proper pricing of water, and what it should include, is the impact on the environment.”
The experts prefer water pricing control as a water sustainability policy over the Victorian desalination project and North-South pipeline.
The upcoming Wonthaggi desalination plant is an expensive investment, and is expected to result in significant negative environmental impacts.
O’Shanassy said that the desalination plant’s large scale produces more water than required and may discourage efficient water use.
Sustainable water use expert, Dr Grace Mitchell, said, “It’s a reasonably energy hungry source of water… when we already know that we’re having an impact on the environment as far as greenhouse gases, we go and choose something that is going the wrong direction.”
Water from the North-South pipeline should be reserved for communities and rivers in the dryer North, instead of being brought to Melbourne, said O’Shanassy. “It’s… a silly investment, and it won’t produce a whole lot of water into the future.”