Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 October 2005) . . Page.. 3753 ..
will pump water from a well-supplied catchment, the Cotter catchment, which is currently essentially full.
It is pleasing that the dams within the Cotter catchment are now at 97 per cent capacity. It is so obvious, so simple and so logical, that it is amazing nobody thought of it until this year when engineers within Actew sat down and said, “What can we do to implement the government’s commitment to sustainable use of water?” Somebody thought, “Let’s see if we can utilise the existing infrastructure. Let’s see if we can retrofit.” They are in the process of doing that. They are currently moving 20 megalitres of water a day from an overflowing Cotter system into a one-third full Googong dam. Within a couple of weeks, as a result of about $20 million worth of work, we will be moving 150 megalitres of water a day from an overflowing catchment into an almost empty catchment. Essentially we will have a great big tank of 129 gigalitres at Googong, which at the moment is at 37 per cent capacity.
This is fantastic. It is the best example we have of the retrofitting that we are currently doing. If one looks at the implications of that sort of innovative thinking in relation to sustainability and retrofitting, it allows us to put off for years the need to consider, for instance, the construction of the Tennent dam, which the Liberal Party were intent on beginning construction on the day after the last election, if elected. They said, “We will commence work on the Tennent dam the day after the election.”
It would have cost $200 million to $250 million. It would have flooded hundreds of hectares of the Naas Valley. It would have caused ecological destruction and a range of other destruction. It is a decision that does not need to be taken, or even contemplated, for 20 years, if ever. It is a great example of why we need to think innovatively, why we need to be committed to sustainability, why we need to think of our options, particularly relating to retrofitting or better use of the infrastructure. I use that example.
Similarly in relation to water and our commitment to sustainability and retrofitting, we are committed to increasing our use of grey water. We currently use more grey water than any other major city or metropolitan area in Australia. That will require, over time, an increased use of existing infrastructure to allow us to transport grey water throughout the city to take some load off potable water.
Significant initiatives are being pursued in the retrofitting of buildings in relation to energy use. I will need to be updated on this; and it might be that Mr Hargreaves can provide me with some additional information later, but I understand that the Department of Urban Services has completed the retrofitting of Macarthur House. We will, as resources permit, continue a major campaign of retrofitting buildings around the city for which we have responsibility to ensure the more efficient use of energy.
MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question to the Minister for the Environment relates to the Googong catchment. In response to question on notice 601 you told me that the gauging station in Burra Creek was not used to provide data for the think water act water strategy because it was “silted up making the more recent data unreliable”. This means that half the gauging stations in the Googong catchment were not used to assess the resource of the water in the Googong catchment. Minister, how reliable therefore are the