A pressing theme that has emerged over the events I attended in the previous month has been that of the environment and in particular the need for water conservation.
On the 23rd of March I attended the SaveWater Awards, convened by the SaveWater alliance, a non-profit association which includes membership from our water authorities and government agencies. The purpose of the SaveWater Awards, as its name suggests, is to encourage water conservation within government, private enterprise and the wider community and it was great to see many examples of innovation and a strong commitment to conserving water.
In particular the local government category has shown a number of examples that we can follow and Hume City Council must be congratulated for winning the local government category of the awards. Hume City Council is set to save more than 70 mega litres of drinkable water per year through the use of recycled water, water tanks and drought resistance turf. Kingston and Monash City Councils, the two other finalists in the category, have also introduced a number of water saving initiatives and combined the three councils a total 82 mega litres of drinking water is being saved.
This is the equivalent to 33 Olympic sized swimming pools and it demonstrates some of the proactive examples that are occurring in local government. It is also sets a high standard and in fact I would very much like to see Maroondah City Council as a potential finalist for next year’s awards. I will be tabling the Clearwater Awards publication.
Whether someone believes in the notion of climate change is irrelevant, the fact is that long term trends are showing an ever increasing bleak picture for Melbourne’s water supplies and the onus is on us to lead by example.
The good news is that in some areas Maroondah City Council is playing its part, since on the 30th of March I had the pleasure of participating in training session conducted on the use of rainwater gardens hosted at Maroondah’s council offices.
The training session was conducted by Clearwater, a non-profit organisation hosted and supported by Melbourne Water, and covered the potential benefits of using rainwater gardens to improve the quality of stormwater run-off by collecting excess rainwater run-off. What was great about this session is the fact that this is an area where Maroondah is leading by example.
Maroondah has recently installed its own rain garden at the lower carpark in front of Karralyka, due to design of rain gardens, the water runoff nourishes these gardens and also helps improve the quality of stormwater. This is one example of where Maroondah is taking initiative in water conservation.
Being proactive on water conservation and other environmental issues will have the support of the community and it is with community support that we can truly help shape positive change.
The last item I wish to raise is an example of where community support helps further an issue of concern and that is the issue of Maroondah’s stance in seeking a review of current gaming and planning legislation.
The Croydon Conservation Society issued correspondence citing their concern with the current gaming and planning legislation and the powers of VCAT. While the reply received from the Department of Justice does little other than provide excuses it does demonstrate the steps the community and community groups will undertake to assist council in its own efforts.
I will tabling the remainder of my delegates report.