5 June 2017

The issue of water security for all Australians was the topic of a stream at OZwater in May this year. The following are my thoughts on the subject following the conference.

  • The national water initiative is only a short/ mid to term approach to water security management.
  • The states and utilities are primarily focused on short and mid-term water security.
  • A long-term national water initiative needs to be put in place to ensure the long-term sustainability of our water security.
  • The current and proposed national water initiative review is a “bottom-up” approach, which needs to be matched with a long term, “top down” approach to water management. The long-term approach needs to take a “right to left” strategic approach.
  • Any long-term focus needs the ongoing commitment of both governments and the Industry.
  • Long-term water planning is required beyond droughts and political cycles.
  • This needs to include both policy and funding commitments outside of the forward estimates period.
  • Funding needs to be made available for water foresight, water research and water climate models.
  • The utilisation of the United Nations global water security framework is a valid approach.
  • We need a bipartisan “Water Security for all Australian” strategic statement to focus both Government and Industry.
  • The statement should set long-term strategic goals for water security for all Australians.

A possible “Water Security for all Australians Statement”.

We need to call on all governments to sign up to a Water Security for all Australian Statement which includes;

  • That clean and safe drinking is a right of all Australians.
  • That water plays an important role in the health of our green and liveable cities.
  • That water is a key driver to the Australian economy and investment needs to be made to maximise this value.
  • The adoption of an adapted United Nations Water Security Framework as a Water Security Framework for all Australians.
  • A commitment to support the United Nations Sustainable Develop Goals and the Paris Agreement.
  • A commitment to increase the understanding of the localised impact of climate change on water security
  • A commitment to long-term water planning cycles. National and States will develop a 100-year water security plan for Australia,
  • That the management of water is a shared responsibility of the Commonwealth & State governments, utilities and the private sector.

The way forward:

The Australian Water Association;

  • needs to lead all levels of government and industry to support a Water Security Statement for all Australians
  • needs to discuss these issues with both the Water Reform Committee and the Urban Water Reform Committee
  • needs to develop an industry based leadership model to support these committees.