Thirty people gathered at the Governor of Hindmarsh Hotel for the second Politics in the Pub hosted by the Socialist Alliance on September 11. The topic — "Can we solve the water crisis?" — was addressed by Peter Laffan, chair of the Save our Gulf Coalition, and Bernie of the Socialist Alliance.
A new report, Sustainable Water Options for Adelaide, had just been released by Greens MLC, Mark Parnell. Laffan told the forum: "We want to see Adelaide base its water strategy on exactly the comprehensive, sustainable and affordable options outlined in this report — particularly stormwater harvesting.
"This also stops polluted water pouring into the Gulf and damaging seagrass and fish stocks. It's a win-win situation for Adelaide and for the environment", Laffan said. "We don't understand why the government is ignoring this option and putting so much effort into an expensive, energy hungry desalination plant as its first option, especially when the desalination plant will add an estimated 1.85 million tonnes of salt and other chemicals to the Gulf."
"We are surprised at [SA treasurer] Kevin Foley's response to this report. He claims that these options have been explored and rejected for cost and practical reasons", Laffan continued. He said Save Our Gulf questions Foley's assertions, having spoke to scientists and engineers who agree that stormwater harvesting and water recycling are viable options for Adelaide.
"It's high time the community had a chance to hear the science and factual information behind decisions about our water future. We are the ones who have to pay for them, and who will have to live with the consequences for several generations", Laffan said.
Bernie outlined the Socialist Alliance's water policy, including the goal to "waterproof" cities through extensive stormwater harvesting and grey-water systems, as well as providing full compensation and alternative employment to farmers whose current livelihoods are based on unsustainable water use.
[Save Our Gulf Coalition is holding a public forum on September 24 at Brighton High School, at 7.30pm. On September 28, another "Rally for the River" will be held from 12-2pm in Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga.]