Australia has a long history as a water conserving nation. As a hot, dry country it has regularly suffered cycles of severe droughts and floods leading to fears about water security and an understanding of the need to save water. Australia will experience hotter and more frequent hot days, sea level rise and more extreme rainfall events as a direct result of climate change. What does this mean for water resources and the availability of water in our homes and gardens?
In the past, times of drought have often led to water utilities promoting ways to save water through encouraging behaviour change, offering rebates for the installation of water efficient products and enforcing restrictions around water use.
More recently, the 10-year millennium drought drove demand management measures further than ever before with cities in Australia developing suburbs with dual reticulation supplying recycled water, the construction of desalination plants and large scale campaigns encouraging water efficient behaviour.
This investment means that cities in Australia are now considered ‘drought-proofed’ by some.Yet water efficiency remains critical to Australia by the water planners.In non-crisis times, how do we ensure the momentum for water efficiency and what does the Australian public think about water use and how we embed it into society?