We grew up in Tasman with an abundance of freshwater, but times have changed. We need to get smarter with our water use. Houses need to install rainwater collection tanks, this increases resilience in the community, and it decreases the load on stormwater systems and the waste of freshwater flushed straight out to sea. There are opportunities to improve the way we handle wastewater and greywater, both as individuals and as a district.
Nitrates and other contaminants need to be more carefully managed and monitored in the Tasman region. We cannot keep burying our head in the sand along with all the other rubbish that is being buried out of sight and all the while leaching into our aquifers.
We need to do better at protecting the health of our river water and to stop the leaching of chemicals into our aquifers. But farmers and gravel extractors are not the only ones to blame as residential streams contain some of the highest levels of contaminants. We all need to clean up our act because Tasman waterways deserve better.
During the recent drought, there were a lot of people asking why the Council doesn’t make water tanks mandatory, or that the Council should buy water tanks in bulk and offer them at a
To any rational person, the concept of each house having its own water tanks seems to be a no brainer. This is what I thought when I moved the motion in a Council meeting that water tanks should be compulsory on new builds – this was before Lower Queen Street had thousands of new homes built.
But the Mayor and his cohorts blocked my move.
There were several reasons thrown up for why would couldn’t make rainwater tanks compulsory. The mayor said it would be too expensive for first home buyers but apparently didn’t that concern him when making rural builds install three 25 thousand litre tanks (with two of those solely dedicated to firefighting storage). Another objection was the lack of space, however, there are many innovative solutions such as under driveways, garages, or in garage walls to overcome the space issue.
Expensive to treat and plumb was another objection for rainwater systems. But a full-blown treated supply integrated into the house is only one option. Water can be recycled into the house for non-potable uses such as washing machines and toilet flushing. The water could be used to wash cars and water gardens or stored for drought situations to increase network resilience.
Rainwater could even just be collected in tanks and released through drip-feed lines. One of the greatest impacts of development has been to drain swamps for agriculture and to channel water into fast-flowing streams. Our urban development channels most rainwater into pipes that head straight out to sea. Anything we can do to both relieve the sudden surge of stormwater into our pipe infrastructure and the exaggerated effect to the estuary must be beneficial. Not to mention any aquifer recharge that might be encouraged through slow
The other obvious benefit is that once the full impact of the dam hits the water rates a tank reticulation system will soon pay for itself.
Tasman water is a precious commodity and it deserves a better level of respect. Join the other voters that think we need a Council with more than one last-century-solution for water issues facing the Tasman region.