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How can we increase water security for regional towns?

9 months ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

We would like to hear your ideas on how we can increase water security in regional towns. This means having enough water for drinking and non-drinking uses such as watering of playing fields, firefighting and for emergency use by farm livestock when on-farm supplies fail.

How can we manage water resources sustainably, optimise available water and identify new water supply options in order for communities and regional towns to meet their water needs? Are there new ways of using alternative water sources, such as wastewater and stormwater, that we could consider?

The Department of Water developed a rural water program to improve water supplies for broadacre agricultural and community use, and to ensure the best use of water resources in dryland agricultural regions.

The Water Corporation also has a regional water supply program.

Some links related to sustainable development in regional Western Australia:

Craig M 8 months ago
Many regional towns rely on transporting water over long distances from large scale, centralised water treatment plants. Using a suitable local water source and appropriate treatment can be less energy intensive. Desalination can use less energy than transporting water for distances 50 km and above. Existing transport infrastructure can be used and there is precedence for this approach in the Pilbara area of WA. This decentralised sourcing and treatment approach is economic now! Additionally there is a substantial loss of water through the transport infrastructure to many regional towns. Using locally sourced water can greatly reduce transport loss, providing additional economic and environmental benefits.
KatieB 8 months ago
Could we use some of the existing dams that are too salty as giant batteries to store energy from solar, wind or other renewable energy supplies. Surplus energy is used to pump water uphill to the dams then it can be released through a hydoelectric generator when needed. This energy can then be used to desalinate the water and create a new fresh water source.
sauce 9 months ago
Possibly diversify the Royalty for Regions. Instead of focusing on dollars ask for manpower and their unwanted asset "water" to send this resource to where its needed.
Martin 9 months ago
The good news is that many regional towns in WA are already recycling their wastewater from lagoons to provide irrigation for ovals, golf courses and parks and gardens - much more than we do in Perth. In these regional towns there are great new ways to build on these basic schemes. For example, there are new technologies and systems that address the so-called water-energy nexus and even others that are more fully integrated that address the water-energy-food-population nexus. The Canary Islands developed a seawater greenhouse that produces freshwater from seawater and grows food faster at the same time in the humidified chamber. Now thats fast food!! Research at Murdoch University will improve this by adding a specially designed bubble column to improve fresh water evaporation and condensation. Some country towns have both water shortages and electricity load management problems. In these towns different types of renewable energy systems can be distributed across the town and when there are electricity surpluses available from these then this can be directed to membrane treatment plants that recycle wastewater or purify seawater. Murdoch University is currently researching different scenarios such as an expanded rooftop solar PV program directed to seawater desalination plants. In many country towns wastewater is only given some treatment before discharge to the environment. There is still a lot of nutrients remaining in this wastewater. Both the water and nutrients can be recycled to grown food and produce, energy. This can be done with numerous different types of algae, for example. Research at Murdoch University is looking at municipal wastewaters, piggery effluents and more to see how to maximise algae production with this medium. Then other research projects are looking at the various by-products that can be produced such as biofuel. Normally to get biofuel the algae is destroyed but new research is looking at innovative methods of milking the algae so it can be kept alive and reused in each cycle. The opportunities are endless. We just need the partnerships and investments and vast new economic development opportunities can be created.