That the Senate:
(i) the announcement by the Victorian State Government that a desalination plant costing $3.1 billion will be built near Wonthaggi to provide a third of Melbourne’s demand for water, approximately 150 billion litres, by 2012,(Read more about this proposed desalination plant on Wikipedia here.) (ii) that the desalination plant and associated pumping of more than 200 km will likely emit more than a million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year and increase electricity use in Victoria by 2 per cent, (iii) that the Victorian Government intends to ‘offset’ greenhouse emissions through the purchase of renewable energy, (iv) that the ongoing drought in Victoria is highly likely to be related to climate change, (v) that 95 per cent of Victoria’s electricity is from ageing, low efficiency, brown coal-fired generators, (vi) that $3.1 billion could fund rebates for approximately 2 million household water tanks that could provide 80 billion litres of water for cistern, laundry and garden use, and (vii) that coal-fired power generation in Victoria uses approximately 400 billion litres of water a year;
(b) urges the Victorian State Government to develop desalination only if necessary after:
(i) stringent standards are implemented for water appliances, (ii) substantial quantities of potable water have been displaced by stormwater or other harvested water, (iii) water reticulation infrastructure leaks have been fixed, (iv) water intensive industry and commercial operations are water efficient, (v) all Victorians have low flow shower heads, dual flush cisterns and grey water systems, and (vi) there is widespread application of water sensitive urban design; and
(c) encourages the Victorian State Government to ensure that any desalination still required, uses only renewable-powered technology.