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.
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
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
“The key issue is that good design based on real historical knowledge avoids most of the perceived maintenance problems – a high level of costly (and unnecessary) maintenance to counter marginal/ill-informed design choices is a very poor outcome indeed”. Dr. Peter Coombes, March 2014, Sydney RHAA Breakfast. Good design is a simple way to ensure rainwater is healthy, clean, clear and doesn’t smell.
“Wisdom cries out in the street, in the square she raises her voice, at the busiest corner she cries out, at the entrance to the city gates she speaks” Proverbs 1 20-21 At the gates of Melbourne in Federation Square on a busy Friday morning, Dr Peter Coombes presented the arguments for water targets for sustainable buildings in Australia.
The RHAA is running a series of breakfasts in capital cities to build support for a Sustainable Buildings campaign with the rainwater tank industry and wider stakeholders. The next one is at Zinc at Federation Square, Melbourne on 28 August.
We have always thought that having a rainwater tank is a good investment and now research from Perth estimates there is a premium of up to $18,000 built into the sales price of houses with tanks installed. You can buy a new Honda Jazz for that!
Like many of you, I have cheerfully embraced sushi, sashimi, Asahi, zen landscapes and minimalist interior design from the land of the rising sun. So when a colleague recently sent me an article on the 2014 Rainwater Act to Advance the Utilization of Rainwater in Japan, aiming for a 100% installation rate of rainwater harvesting in all new government buildings in Japan, I looked at it with interest.
The Rainwater Harvesting Association of Australia (RHAA) is delighted to continue the Ripple Effect blog and continue a conservation about sustainable practices and sustainable water use in this dry country.