Mr Rob Gell, well known geographer and geomorphologist, co-chairs this event with Mr Drew Ginn. Rob was keen to chair event due to his concern for a sustainable future. Rob raises concerns that there is no “silver bullet” solution to our water problem, and that with government treating the Desalination Project as a “silver bullet”, there are serious consequences to climate change and to the marine environment. Consequences that with progressive and responsible policy can be avoided.
Mr Drew Ginn Olympic Champion has recently returned from Beijing, winning his third olympic gold medal. Drew grew up on the coast to be affected from the proposed Desalination Project and has thus developed an interest in the meaning behind the policy that includes the Desalination Project. Concern for the future of the planet and for his young family has resulted in Drew having the courage to stand up and publicly question this policy. Drew is used to massive challenges of a different kind. Those experiences put him good stead to be able to challenge this government policy.
Dr Charles Essery, adjunct professor at the University of Western Sydney and independent water consultant , engineering and design sets a framework for assessing the sustainability of alternative water policies. He also traces the steps in the water management decision making process, provides an overview of the desalination industry and evaluates desalination projects in Australia. Click here to - View presentation
Dr Jochen Kaempf oceanographer, Flinders University, Adelaide, raises major concerns regarding the damage that desalination has on marine ecosystems from the huge brine and ecotoxin effluent discharge from such factories. In particular, with reference the location of Victoria’s Desalination Project, Dr Kaempf explains how the poor flushing characteristics of Bass Strait will exacerbate those effects. He raises concerns that Government is accepting a risk of severe environmental damage, that cost blowouts are being built into the project and that the inquiry for the environmental effects statement has ignored significant questions.
Associate Professor Peter Coombs from Bonacci Water, University of Melbourne and University of Newcastle states that the centralised “silver bullet” approach of the Desalination Project is unsustainable. He argues that a decentralised approach to water management via sensible rainwater, stormwater and wastewater management is sustainable and affordable with population growth, and that such an approach is a buffer to the impacts of climate change. Click here to - View presentation
Associate Professor Chris Walsh from the Department of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne, makes a compelling argument that the 410 billion litres of urban stormwater that runs from Melbourne to the bays annually, must be managed (by reduction in flows) to provide two important benefits:
-To protect urban waterways from significant damage, thus allowing for recovery of these degraded ecosystems.
-To assist in providing water security by returning much of this water to Melbourne’s storages.
This is one large scale sustainable solution that government is ignoring in its current water policy.
Alan Cullen (B.A (Econ), Dip. Law), Director of Cullen Capital, provides an overview of the financial benefits of a sustainable integrated water cycle management, as opposed to a remote centralised response as with the proposed Desalination Project. His financial arguments for the environmentally sustainable solutions as discussed by Associate Professor Peter Cullen are compelling.
Rod Campbell, Consulting Economist at Economists at Large, says that there has been inadequate economic analysis of Melbourne’s water security options and that a thorough levelised cost assessment of the proposed Desalination Project should be made. His estimates are that the proposed Desalination Project is not an economically efficient option.
Due diligence from government demands that transparent economic comparison of the alternative water supplies be provided prior to choosing Desalination as the chosen option.