“The Mayor of Toowoomba, Di Thorley, says the case for water recycling in Australia has been dealt a severe blow as a result of yesterday’s poll in the south-east Queensland city.
Around 60 per cent of residents have voted ‘no’ to a plan to draw 25 per cent of the city’s water from recycled effluent.”
… reports ABC Online.
Luke left the following comment earlier this morning at an earlier blog post on this issue:
“And there you have it – should put the sword through any other politicians trying to run the agenda for some time. A powerful option gone from the toolkit.”
Yet the front page of today’s The Sunday Mail includes the headline:
“Recycled Water Vote No, But Beattie sets date for new southeast referendum”.
Last Friday, before the vote was lost, Graham Young blogging at Ambit Gambit, suggested it was not a bad election issue for the Premier to run on.
It is interesting to ponder why Toowoomba voted against waste water recycling.
The ‘no campaign’ played on the ‘yuk’ factor and it is unclear to what extent the push was supported by local irrigators who have been using the city’s sewage to water their lucerne for about 60 years.
Perhaps the outcome could be seen as one group of resource users out-smarting a city council so they retain access to ‘cheap water’ so they can keep growing lucerne for their cows?
My understanding is that Goulburn will soon be drinking recycled sewage and that there will not be a referendum.
Economics and science would suggest that recycling waste water is the way to go for places like Toowoomba and Brisbane, but now it seems politics is getting in the way?
Interestingly I support the Australian Greens on this issue. Since 2004 it has been their policy to:
“Implement national policies that facilitate a decrease in per capita consumption of fresh water and expand opportunities for its re-use.”
Update next day, 31st July
I expanded this blog piece into an article titled ‘Democracy versus leadership in Poowoomba’ published this morning by On Line Opinion which you can read by clicking here http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=4742 .