Current at: 08 November 2006
Yesterday’s water summit is a welcome step in resolving the urgent water crises gripping urban and regional Australia, HIA, Australia’s peak residential building industry association, says.
“Steps to fast track support for major projects under the Australian Government Water Fund, and better research on water availability through groundwater systems will assist in finding long term solutions to Australia ’s water needs,” HIA’s Chief Executive for Industry Policy, Elizabeth Crouch, said.
“The residential building industry in Australia is highly efficient and innovative, and is well placed to develop new technology that can minimise water use both at the estate and household level,” Ms Crouch said.
“However, we must be able to deliver the new technology in a cost effective way without having to run the gauntlet of multiple approvals through different levels of government.
“One successful water recycling product incurs significant costs and delays in getting approval from individual regulatory agencies every time the system is introduced into a new area. Institutional barriers that prevent the take-up of new technology that would help solve this water crisis must be removed.
“At the estate or suburban level, new communities are being built that recycle and reuse grey water, as well as harvesting water through tanks under roadways. A new housing project in the New England area of NSW is expected to deliver ‘drought proof’ blocks to new residents through better use of water on the estate and recycling of all grey water at the household level.”
Ms Crouch said significant water savings are also being generated as a result of the installation of water efficient tapware and dual flush toilets in new and existing homes. “More incentives are needed to encourage simple measure like the installation of dual flush toilets in homes in all Australian capitals, which would generate water savings equivalent to over 45,000 Olympic swimming pools annually,” she said.
As a member of the Federal government’s Urban Water Advisory Group, HIA is contributing to efforts to identify new and better solutions for providing water to Australian households.
“Over the last eight years through its GreenSmart program, builders and developers have learnt new ways to build sustainable communities that save water and energy,” Ms Crouch said. “These approaches are now being applied across urban and regional Australia .
“Through COAG we have a real opportunity to effect reform and create better solutions for managing water and climate change. Urgent and decisive action is needed beyond this summit.”