What you can learn from your most recent water bill

Do you live in Melbourne? Have you realized that water prices are increasing by 20%? Well, here is what you can do about it.

Soon after posting my comparison between the East West Link and the desalination plant in Wonthaggi, I received my new water bill. Once opened the letter, I couldn’t believe my eyes: price increases in the range of 20%.

new water prices

Now, what can we learn from that?

Well, one must know that the costly desalination plant was built as an adaptation measure to a ten-year’s drought likely provoked by climate change. Apart from several mistakes in planning and assessment, the whole project had one very unjust feature: average households are paying for the luxury of a few individuals, to have a 100% guarantee of being able to sprinkle their lawns and wash their cars even during a drought. A costly luxury. Not so bad if you are rich and have that luxury paid by others[1].
In other words, average households are paying the wasteful lifestyles of the rich. Adaptation to water shortage could also have been done in a different way, namely by reducing water consumption. However, that’s not what the rich and powerful want.

What can you do about it? In terms of water prices probably not much. Reducing consumption might help a bit.

However, what you can do is making sure that nothing like that will ever happen again. Unfortunately, the next project is on its way. The East West Link is another luxury that will be paid by all citizens and only used by a few: those who want to cross the city from the West to the East (or vice versa) within only one minute and in their own car. Do we need that? At what cost? Have an estimate here.

If you think that it is not necessary and that you do not want to pay for that tunnel, then you have only one chance: vote for The Greens on 7th September!


[1] It’s obvious that an increase on a consumer product (i.e. water) will hurt lower income households much more than rich ones.

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About blaubear

Born in 1973 in a small village in rural Switzerland and into a society largely dominated by cows (not only was the human population of one-hundred-and-forty outnumbered by them, but politics driven by unreasonable subsidies for diary products) I was connected with nature from early age on. Observing nature on one hand and the deficiencies of a dysfunctional Swiss agricultural policy with farmers that had lost connection to the land that provided their income on the other, I soon started to question society and the meaning of life. Suffering also under a farcical public education I developed curiosity to discover on my own. That was how I soon learned that little of what I had been taught was true. Skepticism and interaction with people from for me new cultures fostered my interest for the world and eagerness to leave a life shaped by federalistic layman-ship. At the age of twenty-three I hit the road for the first time, an event that later translated into passion. Traveling between cultures has since become part of my life. At the age of thirty-three I finally realized my dream and did a degree in Environmental Engineering from which I graduated in 2009, only to leave Switzerland once more for my "real home" Spain. Unfortunately, the stay was a short one: a couple of months later I was offered a job in Southeast Asia, where I worked and also lived (with some interruptions, e.g. I live in Melbourne since late 2012) ever since. Having worked for a Japanese company earlier in my life, I soon felt captured again by Asian culture and thinking which makes a lovely contrast to my European heritage. My journey through different countries and cultures has taught me that regardless of how different our thinking and values are, no matter what approaches we take, we all can learn from each other. And if we are open enough to see the common instead of pointing out the differences, then we have a chance to live in harmony and peace: Life is all about integration, not exclusion! It's an old wisdom that "knowledge is power", as such I never get tired of being around new people, having interesting talks, and reading lots of good books. I hope that my blog can contribute to the conversation.
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2 Responses to What you can learn from your most recent water bill

  1. Pingback: Repeating the Wonthaggi disaster: Why the East West Link is prone to fail | Ideas for a greener environment, a fairer society and a future driven by sustainability

  2. Pingback: IPCC report, science and Abbottism | Ideas for a greener environment, a fairer society and a future driven by sustainability

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