Tag Archives: Water

Cooks River No Swimming Carnival a success

Greens Councillors joined with local residents this weekend at the ‘No Swimming Carnival’, to raise awareness of the ongoing campaign to make the Cooks River safe for swimming again.

The Cooks River is a significant landmark in the Marrickville Council area. Originally a natural river, which became an industrial sewer, the Cooks River has been tranformed in recent years through the coordinated efforts of local residents, environment groups, bush care, State agencies and the various Councils in the river’s catchment.

The rehabilitation of the Cooks River and its banks has been a priority for the Greens on Marrickville Council, who were successful in establishing the Cooks River Committee in 2006. Council’s support has included native plantings, wetlands, salt marshes, swales and permeable embankments, as well as investment in building/ upgrading the shared walkway along the river.

However there is still much work to be done. An ongoing concern is the continued flow of sewerage and stormwater into the river. Following active lobbying by residents and Council there has been significant investment achieved through Sydney Water and the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority, to improve wastewater systems and to complete the (re)naturalisation of the banks along the river.

The No Swimming Carnival organised by the Cooks River Valley Association on Sunday 24 February 2013 highlighted that much more needs to be done if the river is to become swimmable within the next 10 years. Water testing undertaken by the Association shows continued high levels of bacteria in the river. There are also high levels of rubbish (especially plastic bottles) and a stench from the river in certain stretches.


The Cooks River Valley Association released a postcard at the event which shows the Cooks River Valley Lifeguards – who operated from the 1930s. Some of the participants in Sunday’s event recalled swimming in the river up until the 1950s.

swimming postcard

The Greens share the aim of making the Cooks River swimmable again, and will continue to work with the community, other local Councils and State agencies to ensure proper investment to make this happen.

NSW running out of water

An article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald – People versus power station as water levels plunge – points out what’s happening because of climate change.  This time Oberon (just over the Blue Mountains) is running out of water.  Now the town must choose between the people who consume 1 million litres a day, or the coal-fired power station down river that consumes 9 million litres of water every day. 

How ironic, that the coal-fired power station that is part of the reason why rainfall patterns are changing, it sucking up the remaining water at a prodigious rate!

The article also says Orange Council must decide how to avoid level 6 water restrictions in the near future (level 6 water restrictions basically close down industry).  A giant gold mine nearby is using large amounts of water.  How long before we put a real value on water and on keeping a safe clmate?

Greens Councillor Jeremy Buckingham is still wondering how long it will take before people wake up to the new reality that climate change is already happening.  With a red hot end to November forecast and a scorching summer predicted, how long until government decide to take real action on climate change, rather than this childish debate over who can give more compo to the big multinational coal corporations.  Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, you are a joke – at least you would be if the climate issue weren’t so serious.

Dry: Oberon dam

Isn’t it funny how people perceive The Greens as not being serious on many issues, when we are the only party who really ‘gets’ climate change and is promoting actual solutions rather than token words and almost total inaction.  The other parties and heir representatives will be found to be culpably negligent.

Climate denying morons like Senator Nick Minchin may look the very definition of respectability, but he is a ‘total nutbar’ when it comes to climate (then again, are these the same bastards who locked up [and still lock up] asylum seekers behind razor-wire in thinly veiled attempts to outdo each other in appealing to latent racism and obvious xenophobia in the Australian community).

History will ultimately judge, but if, as the New Scientist reports, we’re heading to six degrees of global warming by the end of this century, then there will be no history, just acidic seas belching Sulfur dioxide into the green sky.

More Buckinghams, less Minchins please.

Lachlan river runs dry

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Saturday that a major NSW River, the Lachlan has run dry, potentially leaving those downstream dependent on water being trucked in.

The drought gripping the valley has caused the water level in Wyangala dam drop to 6 per cen

The drought gripping the valley has caused the water level in Wyangala dam drop to 6 per cent

As Jeremy Buckingham, the Greens’ Councillor in Orange, points out on his blog, this is the first time in living memory that the Lachlan River has run dry, and this time we can’t blame irrigators, as there is little irrigation on the Lachlan.  Buckingham suggests that it is more than a prolonged drought, but rather climate change starting to manifest itself.

Of course, Sydney’s $2 billion desalination plant will soon be operating, so we can remain blissfully ignorant of the crisis in climate country NSW and keep building new power stations and motorways.

Council to reduce bottled water use and takes first step toward new installing new generation of water fountains

Media Release

23 July 2009

Marrickville Council voted at its last meeting to reduce the use of bottled water at its facilities and events, and will get a report into the cost of installing modern filtered water fountains in public areas throughout thelocal government area to provide an alternative to bottled water.

A modern filtered water in the Manly Corso

A modern filtered water in the Manly Corso

“The Greens are very pleased that Marrickville Council will show leadership in reducing the use of bottled water at Council events,” said Greens Councillor Max Phillips.

“It is a small but important step in the direction of a more sustainable Inner West.

“The Greens are very excited that Council will look to install modern filtered water fountains in highly trafficked public areas in our suburbs.

“If we are to reduce the use of plastic bottled water, then providing cold filtered water absolutely free to the public is a good move.

“Bottled water is an unnecessary product in most instances and environmental disaster. Not only does it use 200 millilitres of oil to produce each bottle, but it also creates greenhouse pollution in the transportation of this heavy product.

“Plastic water bottles are a menace in terms of litter, landfill and pollution of our rivers and oceans, and harm to marine ecosystems.

bottle on road“Australians drink 500 billion litres of bottled water each year. This is environmentally unsustainable and irresponsible.

“It is a pity the Labor Party played politics with the motion. Labor seem incapable of voting for any motion The Greens put up in Marrickville Council, no matter how meritorious. I’m glad that the strength of the ideas and arguments won the day – albeit in a ‘round-about way.”

Contact: Max Phillips 0419 444 916

Read the motion put by The Greens.

Read this blog post on bottled water and Marrickville Council.

Banning bottled water? How Marrickville Labor Councillors blocked it

By Max Phillips

I’m watching with interest as the Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon has decided to ban the sale of bottled water and Premier Nathan Rees sniffs a populist moment and bans bottled water in NSW government departments.

bottled-waterIn April, The Greens moved a motion on Marrickville Council that would have banned Council from distributing bottled water, educated the community about disposable plastic containers, and installed modern drinking fountains for people to fill containers with filtered tap water.

Unfortunately, the Labor Councillors and conservative independent Councillors Macri and Hanna voted against this amendment.  The vote was tied and the Mayor Sam Iskandar used his casting vote to defeat the ban on  bottled water. 

From the minutes of the April Council meeting:

The MOTION was put to the vote and was TIED.
For Motion: Councillors Olive, Byrne, Kontellis, Peters, Phillips and Thanos
Against Motion: Councillors Iskandar, Macri, O’Sullivan, Wright, Tsardoulias and Hanna
The Chairperson used his Casting Vote and the MOTION was LOST.

The main reason Labor articulated that they would vote against the motion seemed to be Councillor Wright’s distrust of Sydney tap water and the fluoride that is added.  That and their penchant to vote against anything The Greens put up.

Now they look pretty foolish, when even the Labor Premier says that we should be discouraging the use of bottled water!bottle on road

Labor in Marrickville like to say they are progressive and ‘Labor Left’, but often their decisions make you wonder.  Expanding car parks in Petersham, cutting the bike budget, laying astroturf at heritage Arlington Oval in Dulwich Hill, and voting against the motion to ban bottled water.  There isn’t much that is ‘progressive’ on display!

Stopping Marrickville Council from stocking and distributing bottled water is a no-brainer.  Those who really want it can always bring their own.

Bottled water is bad for the following reasons:

  • Litter and land fill
  • Oil use in production
  • Carbon emissions in the transportation of bottled water (water is a heavy product)
  • Plastic finds its way into the oceans where in some areas there is more bits of plastic than plankton!
  • Economic – it is an unnecessary product
  • Health – lack of fluoride for younger people can cause problems.

Many cities and councils around the world have banned the use of bottled water in their institution.  Paris, Florence, New York, Los Angeles, Liverpool (UK), San Francisco, Toronto.

A modern filtered water in the Manly Corso

A modern filtered water fountain in the Manly Corso, Sydney

Even the Local Government Association of NSW wants to discourage the use of bottled water.  But does Marrickville Labor listen?  No, they’re stuck in a reactionary anti-green rut and are looking pretty foolish now.

Manly has installed excellent filtered water fountains encouraging people to refill empty bottles.  The motion moved by The Greens would also have seen similar fountains installed in public places in the Marrickville LGA.

For more information read the motion Distribution of bottled water and public water fountains that went before Marrickville Council in April.

The Greens will move another motion to stop the distribution of bottled water at Council events at the July Council meeting.

Vote in the smh.com.au poll on bottled water.

Video on plastic accumulation in the oceans:

“Every piece of plastic ever made since the 1950s still exists…”

update someone sent me these facts:

In 2004 154,000,000,000,000 litres of bottled of water was sold worldwide. It took 81,000,000,000 barrels of oil to make the bottles that held that water and released 2,500,000 tonne’s of CO2 into the atmosphere.
•       It takes three litres of water to make every litre bottled water.
•       86% of plastic water bottles end up in landfill.
•       Bottled water costs about 10,000 times the cost of tap water. I’ll say that again – bottled water costs about 10, 000 times the cost of tap water. I can’t think of any other product on earth that we get pretty much for free but that we choose to pay a 10,000 mark up on.
•       Humans spend $100,000,000,000 dollars a year on bottled water. It would cost roughly 1/3 of that to provide clean and safe drinking water for every person on earth.
•       Bottled water is not better for you. We have some of the best tap water on earth here in Australia and tap water faces far stricter quality standards than bottled water does. In fact 40% of bottled water is just tap water with additives.