The Australian Greens will move to introduce national mandatory water efficiency standards for residential and commercial buildings in the Senate after the federal election.
"The Greens urban water plan will help Australian cities plan for and cope with a water-restricted future," said Greens water spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert in Perth today.
"Despite many Australians' hard work reducing their water use, Australia still has the highest per capita water-use in the world,” said Senator Siewert.
"West Australia has been the first to feel the impacts of climate change on our rainfall patterns, with significant reductions in our run-off in the southwest since the 90's.
"We know we're facing a hotter and drier future which is why we need a national plan to cope with the water crisis in our cities.
"The hard work done by many WA householders to conserve water needs to be matched with better government regulation," she said.
"Everyone who has invested in retro-fitting their houses with efficient shower heads and appliances, converted their reticulation to drippers or their garden to natives, or fitted a rainwater tank knows that it is that cheaper and easier to ensure new buildings are designed and built with water efficiency in mind.
"That’s particularly important in commercial and industrial buildings where the initial design makes a huge difference to long-term water use.
"West Australia made a good start and showed real leadership with its '5 Star Plus' scheme, only to have stage 2 canned by the Barnett government. The Greens national standards would build on this achievement and help WA get back on track."
"With Perth's water prices set to rise significantly, water costs likely to eat into domestic and commercial budgets, and a lot of new developments underway in the metro area - it’s the perfect time to move on water efficiency standards for new buildings," concluded Senator Siewert.
The Greens new plan includes:
• Mandatory water efficiency standards for all new residential and industrial or commercial developments, including basic minimum water sensitive design features such rainwater capture, water efficient showerheads and a second pipe network for non-potable water
• Incentives and tariffs for developers to encourage better water sensitive design
• Increasing the ability of local councils to get funding for local public stormwater harvesting projects.