“Demand management” won’t solve Sydney’s water crisis

Sydney’s water storages continue to plunge at an alarming rate that makes the Millennium Drought look like child’s play:

This has prompted the Berejiklian Government to fast-track an expansion of Sydney’s desalination plant, doubling its size in order to provide more than 30% of Sydney’s drinking water:

NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey… said the expansion of the plant in Kurnell, in Sydney’s south, was a “key element in protecting Sydney’s water security”.

“The expansion of the plant should be undertaken as quickly as practicable and in a prudent and efficient manner to deliver at least an additional 250 megalitres of drinking water per day averaged over a 12-month period,” Ms Pavey said…

“We have never seen dam levels drop this fast in Sydney, so we need to move as fast to shore up our supply.”

At the same time, the Berejiklian Government is also fast tracking housing developments to cater for an additional two million people in Sydney over the next two decades, and will also resort to so-called “demand management” to curb water use:

The NSW Government is to fast-track housing developments for a Sydney population increase of nearly two million people despite a lack of new water sources.

Sustainable Australia Party spokesman Kelvin Thomson said development planners had failed to take into account the water shortage.

‘That level of population growth for Sydney is not sustainable,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Saturday.

‘State and Federal governments need to look at the role of migration as the driver of population growth.’

The population of Greater Sydney is forecast to rise to 7.1 million people over the next 21 years, according to NSW Government population projection figures updated earlier this month, with more than half of the growth coming from migration…

The extra 1.9 million people projected would create additional demand of 347.7 million litres of water per day.

Each year they would need 126.9 gigalitres of fresh water, which is more than one fifth the size of Sydney Harbour – which holds 500 gigalitres of water…

The Metropolitan Water Plan also talks about cutting people’s water usage through ‘demand management’.

Sydney’s evaporating water supplies are obviously being exacerbated by the federal Government’s ‘Big Australia’ mass immigration policy.

Since the Millennial Drought ended in 2006, Sydney’s population has ballooned by one million people (~20%), which has massively increased water demand.

The maths is simple. With average water use of 183 litres per day according to Sydney Water, the additional 1,000,000 people represents an extra 183 million litres of extra water consumed every day.

Given Sydney’s population is projected by the ABS to swell by around 4.5 million people over the next 48 years – almost doubling the city’s population – driven completely by mass immigration:

And with droughts to become more common and severe and evapotranspiration rates to skyrocket.

The New South Wales Government will need to build a battery of expensive, energy-sucking and environmentally damaging desalination plants along the coast, which will dramatically increase users’ water and energy costs.

These are just some of the many hidden costs of the bipartisan mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy that has been undemocratically foisted on the Australian people.

Leith van Onselen
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  1. Neighbour was filling their pool so much before new years eve that they flooded my yard. English is not the first language spoken in that household. Had to go around and ask them to turn their tap off.

    Anyway ill be installing 3 slimline water tanks soon. Roughly 9000lt storage I hope. Can’t see this turning around anytime soon before we’re in a full blown crisis.

    Q: do I fill my pool under water restrictions overnight (maybe 5000lt to fill it back up after some work on a pump/relocation of pump house due to a split pipe and major garden renos)?

    • There’s an easy economic fix to this water crises:
      Charge a low price for the first 150l of water per day, and 10x that if the limit is exceeded.

    • Strange EconomicsMEMBER

      Desal water is liquid electricity. Current plant about 10% of sydney water – as per website says 50MW, compared to 1 MW for dam water pumping only..

      Need another 500 MW (40% of Liddell coal fired powerstation if target of 50 % of sydney water desal).

      So massive running costs for the power bill…

      And add another hidden $ 1 billion capital cost to the cost of desal plant to build the power plant…

      So drought gives more air con and desal water , gives more coal fired powerstation , gives….; non virtuous circle…

  2. Seriously, f’em. Why should i give up my dam water for a vibrant. Looking forward to the protests on Friday.

  3. If you could bottle the virtue-signalling over “climate change”, Sydney would never be short of water again.

    But, as things stand, both parties are locked on to Jobs and Growth, as the best response to Fire and Water.

    Amid the fires, there is still no discussion of mass migration, no retreat from 8m for Sydney and Melbourne.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      Sadly the most likely outcome is a firestorm rips through Western Sydney and/or North East Melbourne – many thousands of home lost and likely deaths in the thousands too. That will put a real quick stop to folks wanting to move here. Right now it is mainly the Tourists who are cancelling, but if the fire guts a suburb or two in one of the major cities, then it’s likely over.

      There are also bigger issues than just the fire. Once all that ash and crap gets into the water supply we also have big problems. This place has the potential to go 3rd world rather quickly if we don’t lift our game.

  4. I’m doing my bit by continuing to enjoy long, luxurious showers under my high flow shower head.

  5. Arthur Schopenhauer

    Don’t forget Melbourne. It’s on the same trajectory. Not enough water by 2024.

  6. truthisfashionable

    Anyone happen to know if the 183l per person is lazy maths? I.e. total use divided by (Sydney’s) population

    I would hope not, I’m sure they wouldn’t use misinformation to make individuals feel like they are the cause of and solution to Sydney’s water problem.

  7. Demand management. Sell the public’s water to elite cronies who then sell “their private property” (the water) back to the public at gougy prices in a free (cough) market situation.
    That’s a public private partnership these days – commercial in confidence of course.

  8. Had a tradie here the other day and he had come from a job in one of Sydney’s newer outer suburbs. Said the development was built with water recycling within the development – lawns were beautiful and sprinklers on everywhere because they didn’t have restrictions. Not sure if true but in the absence of sensible immigration discussion it makes sense that all new developments (new suburbs and maybe apartment buildings over a certain height) they could make this a standard requirement.

  9. Janus Cuke Umber

    I remember reading somewhere that Sydney loses daily on average 15 to 20 percent of its water supply through leaks and broken pipes. Only last week around the corner from my place in the inner west we had a major leak that gushed water for 4 hours before a Sydney Water response team (one guy) arrived to investigate. It took them same amount of time for the actual maintenance team to arrive and repair the problem. In the meantime tens upon tens of thousands of litres of fresh water down the drains. Locals with buckets at least used some of it throwing it on their gardens. I have seen countless times in my area these large leaks go unattended for hours. Yet they eagerly fine people for using water outside restriction guidelines while hundreds of thousands of litres go down the drain due to their incompetance. So yeah these morons will never be able to “better manage” water supply …

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Mmm,….”around the corner from my place in the inner west” you say
      “Janus Cuke Umber”

      Is that you Harry?

  10. Unaccounted for (leaks, pinched) water is a big issue in urban water supplies.

    Obvious leaks are easy. Just imagine the issues in sandy places like Perth and Adelaide where the water goes straight down.

    Hopefully we will get a sensible discussion on recycling soon.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      In Sandy areas you can tap into bore water for irrigation.
      Most of Sydney is heavy clay so no good for bores.
      They are quite common on the Central coast.
      Lots of them at Hawks nest tea gardens, where I have family, as well.
      Bloody water stinks like mouldy turds though.
      The smell of Money!

  11. This: “We have never seen dam levels drop this fast in Sydney, so we need to move as fast to shore up our supply.”

    Then this: “At the same time, the Berejiklian Government is also fast tracking housing developments to cater for an additional two million people in Sydney over the next two decades ..”

    I feel like I’m dreaming a bad dream sometimes and that, at any instant, I’ll wake up to find that the world is rational after all.

  12. Did some calculations in another post but in short this is going to come real close to day zero. There is going to be a real fight over the water between city and country first then another fight between inner and outer sydney

    • Blottridesagain

      Country has no chance. City outvotes them. Anyway – there should be nobody living West or North of the Great Divide. They are all just methane producing country scum who deserve what’s coming to them. Then we can have a real SUSTAINABLE economy.

    • Over a decade ago, the Victorian government built the north south pipeline for water should Melbourne need it. Essentially, the fight between city and country has been won. The same will go for all states. If the capital (main voting block and marginal seats) wants water, it will get it.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Hang on a sec mate.
      They got rid of the white Australia policy back in the 1800s.
      What are you on about!

      • White elephants and white Australia are different concepts. We might want to do some soul searching as to why our, I also had to do a second take, initial instinct was to see something race related.

    • China PlateMEMBER

      Hang on they drink alot and they store alot.
      We could have them in our back yards with a hose attached

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      Shame any water in those vacant mine sites tends to be rather toxic and unsuitable for consumption without some heavy treament.

      • Well obviously that would be the water for poor people. Losers, who haven’t invested in property.

  13. “expensive, energy-sucking and environmentally damaging desalination plants”
    Hang on a second. Solar power, wind power, tidal power are all free and environmentally friendly.
    Salt water is also free, last time I checked.

    So doesnt that mean we can get free fresh water in Sydney with minimal cost. With technological advancement they could actually make money from de-sal plants.
    And if that doesnt work, Australia can just tap the great artesian basin. There is enough water in there to support a population of 100m.
    The CSIRO are working on plans to refill the artesian basin when there is a flood and cyclones, like now…..

      • MountainGuinMEMBER

        Electricity around the middle of the day is getting to be more and more renewable, tends to peak around 40 percent but did hit 50 percent a few months back. This will keep trending up, and midday pricing esp in spring and autumn should keep trending down. Does anyone know if a desal plant can ramp up for a few hours and ramp back down again? While I think desal is not the first best choice, the enviro impact of desal may be dropping. Of course it would produce limited water operating in such a fashion.

    • “So doesnt that mean we can get free fresh water in Sydney with minimal cost”
      lol, what planet do you live on. All the rent seekers need to make a buck before you get your fresh water.

    • also, you ignore that we are not on renewable energy, the waste salt product and the cost of pumping of the water back up the hill. Desal cost 5x rain water. lets see everyone squirm when its $4k pa for tap water.

  14. Desl plant will take a couple of years to build. Dam levels dropping at 1/2% a week. At this rate we will hit 0 before the new desal plant will open.

    Pray for rain…

  15. I’m told of a town on Sydneys outskirts (just north of Newcastle) that filters it’s seawater via a trench dug on the beach (sifts through ~8ft of sand), & has clean drinking water……. Been doing it for decades……

    No Money for Mates in that though I guess.

  16. Capetown were able to kick the can until it rained by implementing a Zero Day when water would run out, this shocked the population into reducing their water usage, slap on high water restrictions.

    Cape Towns water usage has since halved.

    Fresh Water is the most precious commodity known to man and should be treated that way.

  17. “Demand management” won’t solve Sydney’s water crisis
    What a curious thing to say.
    Are any Demand Management systems designed to solve a crisis?
    Now don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of Electricity Demean management but even they are not designed to solve a crisis. The primary function of Demand Management at the residential level is to give the consumer the tools they need to manage their electricity usage.
    Electricity Demand Management as a euphemism for higher prices (TOU pricing or price signalling) is a rather transparent lie it doesn’t want to solve the problem because the player profit from the lack of transparency, I suspect the same would apply to any water demand management system, it would claim to give users the tools they need to reduce usage but in reality simply deliver corporations the excuse they need to increase costs.
    Residential level Water Demand Management what a joke!