very off topic.. slightly political..

for those of you who love the coast, this is for you… for the rest of you… you should sign up anyway.

Im sure most of you are aware of the desalination plant proposed and now approved by Peter Garrett in Wonthaggi. This is going to cause irreparable damage to the coast.
My family have a holiday house at Inverloch, which is the neighbouring town to Wonthaggi and this coast is in threat of being destroyed.

It would be a great waste to see the sea life and the tidal patterns altered due to the pollution.

Sign the petition @

at least attempt to stop it!

as much as id like to not see this built, id also like to be able to have some nice drinking water for years to come and if this is the only option then so be it.

and how is the damage this will cause anymore than what has been done with the Yallourn open cut and various power stations in that area? Or is it that you care more because its in your own backyard?

the old “not in my back-yard” debate
inverloch is a beautiful place, my grandma used to live their.
but it seems that our generation is going to have to suck it up and give these kind of plans the nod, there are not many other options if we all want a shower in 10 years.

Just get Ernie Sigley on board he lives in inverloch,

His Grey army would stop anything.

The cheapest, most environmentally friendly way to guarantee our water supply is to start recycling sewerage. The science has been proven for over 15 years in the USA, and end result is water of higher quality than already in our reservoirs.

The only reason it hasn’t got up is political. People are emotional about it, not rational.

But it would turn a current environmental disaster into a useable resource.

Desal is expensive, energy consuming and as a by-product pumps concentrated salty water back into the ocean. Its about the only thing worse than what we pump into it now.

I say lets drink the shit. Its much better than the current state, where I surf in it.

More? Clickity Click


While I enerally agree recycling is the way to go…

Its about the only thing worse than what we pump into it now.

This makes no sense at all. Your not actually adding anything to the water. The net effect of desal is to take out fresh water. There is a very local increase in salinity but for Wonthaggi this will be essentially neglible. If you were going to pick a sight for maximum impact of a saline outflow in Australia it would be Cockburn Sound where the Perth one discharge and there is pretty conclusive modelling and field experiment which show the effect to be insignificant.

See reports on the WA Water Corp Site (These are about 10MB each) at and

(Disclaimer: I was peripherally involved in these studies)

Wonthaggi is way more energetic and the mixing of the saline discharge water will be much larger.

Desal is expensive, energy consuming

This is what the argument should be about and the fact its going to look pretty ugly on a good bit of coast line

Ok, so I may have no scientific studies to back up my ‘take anything out, add anything in = bad’ principle. I did make up the bit about how bad this is.

Importantly, we agree on the issues here: Recycling is better,desal is pretty shit. Signing the petition in the OP is a good idea (even if it takes 7 clicks to get to that bit).

Thanks for the links to the studies. I remain sceptical because
a) it was funded by the same organisation that manage and profit from the desal plant, and
b) it did not test for impacts of

I think they would have had to get it for planning approval, but that’s not to say its not cooked.

We’re all doomed either way :smiley:

whats the problem with a ‘in my back yard’ perspective?
I think thats a pretty close minded statement to a problem which effects everyone and has alternatives.

brumby said the pipe line would save billions of litres of water a year, and yet, after the 1st year of operation, it will only save 1/4 of the proposed amount.

the same with the desalination plant. yes, there are tides which move quickly around wonthaggi and will disperse the pollutants with a low amount of damage.
but the fact is it will still be polluting the area, messing with the eco system. Im not a crazy greeny. but a desalination plant is not a practical approach to a situation which needs some pragmatism to it.

why not spend the money on force installing water saving taps and shower heads in every house in melbourne older than 10 years?
why build a monolithic structure which not only pollutes into the sea, but is energy inefficient?

Bumping to add ‘why log our catchment areas’ to the discussion - those guys that climbed and graffed the old power station tower in the CBD (near Bourke and Flinders) must have thought it was a serious enough issue to do that. One of the reasons we can’t process stormwater is all of the oil and petrol scum that cars leave on the roads - another good reason to ride a bike when possible eh. Save water, piss on the lemon tree … the desal plant will be a target for monkeywrenching once it’s running. I’d like to see a serious look at water usage in irrigation and farming, there should be a water levy on all locally made water-intensive products, and tariffs on any equivalent products that are imported from elsewhere. If food prices go up just because petrol is expensive then why shouldn’t they go up relative to the real cost of their manufacture. At least then people would realise the effect their choices at the supermarket and in the kitchen are having. This in turn would hopefully put the focus on “food miles” and locally grown produce. Incidentally did anyone see the lectures on ABC2 about phosphorous … shit.

I think that discussion about the pros and cons of desal is health - should we keep supplying more and more water to people who don’t realise how much they are using, or should we charge an appropriate price for water when it is valuable?

I think comparisons to the North-South pipe are unfair because the science of desal is we established, and the science of water-savings in northern Victoria is proving to be very dubious.

[start rant] But I think that bringing food miles into the discussion is completely off-topic on this already off-topic discussion. Food miles, virtual water, ecological footprint, etc are all dodgy simplistic measures that hid the detail of resource management problems and - although they capture the imagination of the public - give the wrong answers regarding how to fix these very real problems. link link [end rant]

Yeah fair enough, a bit hard to stay focused at ten to four in the morning. I guess where I was going was that if it’s fair for the gubmint to send everyone egg timers and say ‘right, 155 litres, you get a gold star if you can do it’ and charge urban consumers x dollars per megalitre when the farmers (and the bottled water ‘manufacturers’!) get it at x cents per gigalitre, then it should be fair for them to start taxing products that are water intensive to manufacture, in order to offset the cost of water programs. Got distracted with food miles etc. I don’t understand why the spotlight wasn’t on land management and reviewing existing water use by all sectors, before they went ‘hurr let’s build a desal plant jobs and investment!’ … the abc link to the food security lectures was … uhh … because they had info on split-system waste recyling and the negative effect of urine on existing waste processing methods. Then we plough the golf courses. Aaand cut to commercial.

Amen. So much water is wasted in the household/by industry/in the workplace. How is it that we’re still using drinking water to flush our shit? Compost baby! Capturing rainwater off the roof is pretty simple and can supply most households with at least a significant proportion of their fresh water. Or if you’d rather drink the chlorinated, fluoridated bullshit they call drinking water than what comes out of the sky you can always use your tank water to wash your clothes/body/dishes etc etc. And yes I acknowledge the cost of retrofitting but surely setting a household/workplace up to be off the grid as much as possible is a worthwhile investment for govt?
my 2c

I just don’t understand the phobia with using recycled waste water. It clearly is the best option in our country.

If it’s good enough for loads European and North American cities then I’m sure it’s good enough for us.