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Water recycling in Queensland

mike's picture

Fellow Green Comrades,

I write because I am concerned green groups will jump in to support water recycling without putting pressure on the government.

We don't have a water problem so much as a population problem, a population problem which drives growth and which exacerbates greenhouse emissions. These emissions also exacerbate droughts, quite likely making any normal drought some 10 to 30% worse than it would otherwise have been.

The government wants to instigate water recycling, but will happily continue to approve the building of 25,000 + new houses in SE Qld every year. The building of every one of these houses results in the emission of at least 100 tonnes of GHG's, and every year, at least 2.5 million tonnes of GHG's are emitted because of building alone. Then, because none of these houses are efficient, they continue emitting some 6 to 10 tonnes a year each (some 200,000 tonnes in total) through their electricity usage. So every year, development in Qld alone is responsible for the growth of emissions to the tune of some 2.75 million tonnes of CO2. That's growth, every year that much more pollution enters our atmosphere.

The newly 'created' water coming from recycling will almost certainly be used as an excuse to drive more development.

Unless an immediate moratorium on development is demanded by green groups, we should not support any water recycling, and in fact actively campaign against such a measure. I believe that without the support of green groups there is a very high likelihood that the referendum will fail, and the government knows it.

I have no problem whatever with drinking recycling water. I won't vote for it though. South East Queensland is already overpopulated, the madness must stop.

Mike Stasse


I have just sent the above letter to Green groups in Qld. I would urge you to do like wise. E-mail addresses include:

info {AT} scec org au,
campaign {AT} wilderness org au,
secretary {AT} qld greens org au,
admin {AT} qccqld org au



Postscript: Please register your opposition to Beattie's water recycling plan on this online poll at


Hi Mike,

I'm not sure that use of the term "comrades" will encourage any readers. In fact I believe it will have the reverse effect. The use of that term alone will negate any message you wish to give to others.

In correspondence between Green groups it may be acceptable but even there it has overtones which deter potential recruits to your thoughts. Nothing personal, just my immediate reaction to the term.

As to whether there is a water or population problem the result is the same is it not? Too many people, not enough water. Stopping development will surely just increase pressure on existing, and old, infrastructure with the obvious results. That is breakdown in the most populated areas as more people try and live in existing housing.

Where should they go? Much as I disagree with Mr Beattie on most things even he stated the obvious in that we cannot put up borders to prevent people coming here. It's not just a Brisbane problem either Mike, it's happening everywhere.

What I'd prefer to see is incentives given for people to move to less populated areas but that too will create demands for water that probably isn't available right now.

The push for recycled water is clearly a problem of lack of planning, foresight and action by all governments here over the last 30 years. They just sat on their hands and let things ride until crisis after crisis began to hit. Thus the push for an unpalatable (excuse the pun) choice.

There is also a slight problem with a potential cessation of development. That is unemployment. Because of that such a change will not happen and I would suggest pushing that line will be both fruitless and will embarrass the Greens or green supporters.

Rather than focus on the cessation of development I would suggest a more productive approach would be to attack the government(s) that have created this problem and expose them for what they are.

I feel that the vote will fail simply because of the stigma, as it did in Toowoomba. It's too easy to discolour the issue and opponents will prey on ignorance, as usual.

No offence intended and I do agree with the thrust of your message but reality tells me such efforts will be frustrating and have no chance of success.

In truth, when I used the greeting 'comrade', it was personal to the green groups themselves. The printing of this letter here was without my knowledge, but later approval.

I don't see how a moratorium on development puts pressure on old infrastructure. We don't need 'barriers' to stop people moving to SE Qld, just a lack of houses for them to live in. This would be achieved with a moratorium. You ask "where would they move to?", and I say they can stay where they are!

Yes I know water shortages are happening everywhere - people must stop breeding! And we must also put a moratorium on immigration. Australia is overpopulated now. The climate's screwing up, our food stocks are dropping (largely due to the drought), and you think it's alright to increase the population? Moving people to less populated areas fixes nothing. I have just done that myself. I now live in a state of the art eco-house (whose construction DID emit 100 tonnes of CO2!) just north of Noosa, but I am water/energy/waste self sufficient. The people around me aren't though..... as soon as it stops raining, they empty their tanks, and water trucks queue up past my place to refill them..... while my tank overflowed again with the 40mm we received a week ago. See, it fixes nothing if people continue to be stupid.

The trouble is, no-one wants to talk about overpopulation. It's taboo, for reasons I can't really fathom. Why? We're not rabbits!? Can't we discuss this like the intelligent beings we are supposed to be?


Hi Ross,

I wouldn't get too hung up on the term 'comrade'. I understand that members of the Labor Party often use this term also.

Whether or not we can stop people from coming to Queensland, we have to be clear that adding 1,000,000 to Queensland's population in the last 15 years has seriously degraded our environment and adding another 1.25 million to South East Queensland by 2026 as the SEQ Regional Plan allows may degrade our environemnt beyond the point of no return.

If we are clear that we don't want to increase population then we can at least stop encouraging immigration into Queensland as Premier Beattie and Brisbane's Lord Mayor Campbell Newman have been doing.

I think tere may be some potential fo rdecentralisation to mitigate the harm of overpopulation, but it should not be used as an excuse to encourage further population growth.