2016 was Australia's fourth-warmest year on record (the national observational dataset commences in 1910). Australia’s area-averaged mean temperature for 2016 was 0.87 °C above the 1961–1990 average. Maximum temperatures were 0.70 °C above average, and minimum temperatures were 1.03 °C above average. Minimum temperatures were the second-warmest on record behind +1.16 °C in 1998. (BoM)
For Australia’s climate, 2016 was a year of two halves. The year started with one of the strongest El Niño events on record in place in the Pacific Ocean, and the opening months of 2016 were generally hot and dry, especially in northern and eastern Australia. From May onwards there was a dramatic change in the pattern, with heavy rain and flooding a regular feature of the middle months of the year. Overall temperatures were the fourth warmest on record in 2016, capping off Australia’s hottest decade. We track these events and more in the Bureau of Meteorology’s annual climate summary released recently. (The Conversation)
Parts of Western Australia have benefited from river flows up to six times greater than those of last year's dry winter, a recent report shows. The Department of Water's climate and streamflow assessment shows boosts to many of the state's key southwest river systems, said Executive Director Science and Planning Greg Claydon. (AWA)
Water Minister Mia Davies has welcomed Michael Hollett as the new chairman of the Water Corporation board. (DPC Media Statements)
A revised State Planning Policy 2.3 – Jandakot Groundwater Protection (SPP 2.3) was gazetted on 11 January 2017. SPP 2.3 aims to protect the Jandakot Groundwater Protection Area from development and land uses that may have a detrimental impact on the water resource. (DoP)
Water Minister Mia Davies has announced a $20 million competitive grants program to drive investment in innovative water use for irrigated agriculture. (DPC Media Statements)
New options for irrigation and drinking water supplies from aquifers in the Albany hinterland have been welcomed by our regional stakeholders. (DoW)
Water Minister Mia Davies has announced funding of $11.5 million to increase the State's commitment to expand irrigated agriculture through groundwater investigations. (DPC Media Statements)
Water services in ten remote Aboriginal communities will receive an historic upgrade under a West Australian government program. The communities in the Kimberley and Pilbara will be the first of the state’s larger communities to have basic services, including power and municipal services, brought up to minimum standards. (AWA)
State Government recently announced funding for the Shire of Kojonup to boost the town's availability of non-potable water supplies. $66,000 would be made available through the Watering WA Towns program to refurbish the town's showground dam and catchment infrastructure. (DPC Media Statements)
Oceania is the world's only continental region to record a net decrease in permanent water over the past three decades, international research has found. (AWA)
Premier Colin Barnett recently announced funding of $37 million to the Myalup-Wellington Water for Food project to address rising salinity levels at Wellington Dam and expand agricultural irrigation in the South-West. (DPC Media Statements)
$4.35 million in funding is now flowing into the wellbeing of regional waterways after a suite of partnership signings with catchment groups under the Regional Estuaries Initiative. (DoW)
Exciting announcements in the irrigation and food production space were the topic of discussion in Carnarvon on 7 December when Water Minister Mia Davies released the draft Gascoyne Master Plan for public comment. (DoW)
The Wheatbelt community of Piawaning has used a State Government grant and innovative reverse-osmosis desalination technology to secure a reliable local source of non-potable water for community and emergency uses. (DPC Media Statements)
A $14.6 million upgrade to the Water Corporation's Onslow wastewater treatment plant is now complete, with the plant's capacity doubled to 870,000 litres per day. (DPC Media Statements)
The draft City of Wanneroo Tree Species List is being provided to Landscape Architects, Planners and Engineers who work on City projects, as well as nursery industry members. The list will function as an addendum to the City’s draft Streetscapes policy. Preference is that it will be reviewed along with the draft Streetscapes and Tree Polices, (currently advertised on the City’s, with the closing date for comments being 31 January 2017). The closing date for comments on the Tree Species List is 9th February 2017. The Tree Species List has been created in Excel, and includes filters, allowing it to be used as a tool to provide for the quick selection of suitable species for specific uses. The idea is to work from left to right: for example if a species for a coastal access street with a standard footpath width is required, use the filter for both the coastal column and the 4.5m verge column. This reduces the list to show the species suitable for this purpose.
Our climate is getting warmer with dwindling rainfall our dams are becoming drier, with Western Australia’s population expected to grow to 3.5 million by 2050 our water supplies will fade if continual steps are not taken to preserve our water provisions. Experts like Professor Anas Ghandouani and his team at CRS for water sensitive cities, work closely with the Water Corporation to research securing our water supplies.
In light of climate change and a growing population, water authorities around the world are looking at the treatment of recycled water to achieve water security and sustainability. Recent authors on The Conversation have raised the possibility of expanding the use of water recycling in Australia, noting the potential benefits for domestic, agricultural and industrial water supply. Some contributors have noted that the major roadblocks to water recycling, in places where it could be beneficial, are not technical issues, but public reluctance to use recycled water. (The Conversation)
Water markets – not physical infrastructure – might be the key to averting a global water crisis, argues an Australian National University researcher. (AWA)
A new national register will bolster the country’s water resources management by taking an annual snapshot of foreign investments. The Federal Government has passed legislation that requires foreigners to inform the Australian Tax Office (ATO) of any water access entitlements they own. (AWA)
Two amendments in relation to water servicing were gazetted this week. These include; the Water Agencies (Water Use) Amendment By-Laws 2016; and Water Services Legislation Amendment Regulations 2016. (UDIA)
We at Boxed Green love receiving lots of questions about growing and selecting WA plants for gardens, understanding why eco-gardening is important for our local fauna and how to be more successful with native gardens. Our aim at Boxed Green is to encourage more and more people living in Western Australia to plant local plants. This is not just to make our gardens more beautiful and colourful, but also to support our local eco-system. Imagine if we all have WA plants in our garden! We'd be supporting birds, native bees, and all kinds of insects! (Boxed Green Team)
Australia is world-famous as a swimming nation. We have a celebrated beach culture, not to mention more privately owned pools per person than any other country. Yet few urban Australians would consider swimming in their city’s river. Almost every major Australian city sits on the banks of a large river. But judging by online reactions to the suggestion of a dip in the Brisbane River, most people are worried about everything from ear infections to a painful death from brain-eating amoebae. (The Conversation)
To better prepare for an “unknowable future”, water utilities should adopt scenario planning and adaptive planning approaches, a recent GHD and Melbourne Water project has recommended. (AWA)
As more and more people move to urban areas and our roads become more congested, 'sound scaping', or reducing noise with plants and trees is becoming increasingly important. Landscape architects are advocating for plants and trees to be used to reduce noise in a far more aesthetically pleasing way than traditional sound barriers. (202020 Vision)
Every minute, every day, people suffer and lives are lost needlessly because of a lack of safe water and sanitation. Help us end this global crisis and transform lives. Improve your health, and help provide lifesaving safe water to others. (WaterAid)
Treepedia is a new platform that uses Google Street View panoramas to compare tree cover between several major global cities. The tool has been developed by Senseable City Lab, an MIT social innovation incubator, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. (202020 Vision)
CRC for Water Sensitive Cities
Picture raingardens sprouting with plant life, constructed wetlands enjoyed by joggers and families, and vegetated swales that add greenery to the sides of roads. All of these elements bring aesthetic beauty to the landscape of a city. But by boosting its ability to absorb and filter stormflows, they are also multifunctional elements of water sensitive urban design (WSUD): the increasingly visible principle that underlies a Water Sensitive City.
A new research synthesis report adds to the CRCWCS’s growing portfolio of practical ideas for implementing water sensitive urban design (WSUD). Enhancing the economic evaluation of WSUD
collates much of the CRCWSC’s economics research on non-market values and advocates for an investment approach to economic evaluation that shifts the thinking from a focus on costs and risks to one of return-on-investment.
In response to frequent water shortages, governments in Australia have encouraged home owners to install rainwater tanks, often by provision of partial funding for their installation. A simple investment analysis suggests that the net private benefits of rainwater tanks are negative, potentially providing justification for funding support for tank installation if it results in sufficiently large public benefits. However, using a hedonic price analysis we estimate that there is a premium of up to AU$18,000 built into the sale prices of houses with tanks installed.
In Australia, waterways and wetlands are mostly public resources, their beds and banks and flow of water vested in the Crown in the rights of the States. Private rights in respect of water resources are regulated by public authorities under broad legislative powers. Yet many of these waterways and wetlands require significant ecological restoration. In this report, ‘restoration’ refers to the level or environmental baseline of water flow prior to human alterations in terms of dams and weirs for consumptive use.