by Michael Smit and Prof PJ Coombes An important debate in this country is about the health of people using rainwater, however much of the commentary is funded by water monopolies who have a centralised water distribution perspective quite different to how rainwater harvesting works. One of the recent rebuttal papers by PJ Coombes has just been published and we thought we should discuss some of the issues, as much to demonstrate there is a difference of opinion.
By Professor PJ Coombes and Michael Smit When most people talk about sustainability they talk about and analyse separate elements, a rainwater tank, solar panels, recycling, orientation, cross ventilation. How much does that element cost, what will that element produce, how much will that element save?
Yes, it was a big call but at the breakfast on 20 April in Sydney Josh, Caroline and Scott delivered a very impressive vision of the future of Australian House Design. Thanks team, the world owes you a fine wine. Josh Byrne laid out the blueprint, literally, for Josh’s house. In summary
The Rainwater Harvesting Association has organised a breakfast to talk about Housing Design on 20 April in Sydney. Australia needs to build 4 million new houses in Australia by 2036, a 50% increase from 2011. What do we want and what do we need from these houses? Almost every article we read about sustainable houses seems to include rainwater harvesting, solar panels, passive design features. These features clearly work so why do so many of us have houses without them? What should we do to build great houses and reduce our costs, enjoy our houses more, pay less taxes, and raise healthy families?
Authors: Prof. PJ Coombes and Michael Smit “Water bills to rise as desal plant gets the go-ahead to start making water for the first time” This heading, from a newspaper article in The Age on 6 March, caught our eye from our respective desks, so we called up and had a yarn, and some questions came up for us. We typically investigate multiple data sources to fully understand these issues. We make a living from these kinds of questions but some of the answers were a little startling.
This report was funded by the Californians and responds to the Californian drought crisis by summarising the lessons learnt in Australia from the Millenium drought. This quote caught our eye “The Australian experience shows that investment in water conservation options provided the cheapest, quickest and most effective contribution to managing demand during the drought,” said Professor Stuart White, director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF), at the University of Technology Sydney. “Without them many cities and towns would have run out of water.”
Back in the day…. we all maintained our water tanks beautifully and whittled our own furniture in the long summer evenings. In the modern world however we sometimes need a hand making sure we are getting the best from our rainwater harvesting systems.
The second in our series of maintenance articles for rainwater harvesting systems is on pumps. Pumps are one of the expensive and vulnerable elements of the rain harvesting system. It is worth getting a good one and installing it properly. We had a coffee with Mike Thompson, from Claytech, who took us through some things to think about.
About 4 million new Australian households are projected by 2036, a 50% increase from 2011. (ABS, 2015). The design standards for these buildings are fundamental to future urban energy and water needs but performance based water and energy saving targets are missing or not consistent across Australia.
To quote Colin Nash, the champion Chairman of the Rainwater Harvesting Association, “The gun has gone off”, we are not waiting for the start anymore, we are up and running. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has been working closely on rainwater harvesting since