Last Saturday I launched a petition to encourage people living in South East Queensland to express their support for fully reusing wastewater. It has been made clear time and again that most political leaders at state and local level generally do not have the courage to bring in full water recycling because they are too scared of a community backlash. So the more people in the South-East Qld region who put their hands up and say they support full recycling, the better chance there is that political ‘leaders’ will follow.
The evidence is very strong that reusing purified wastewater is safe, as well as clearly being cheaper, more reliable and less socially and environmentally damaging than other alternatives.
It is also clear that most political leaders know this, which makes me amazed that the government is more willing to destroy the communities and lives of thousands of people around the Mary River, at massive economic and environmental cost, rather than run the risk of mildly upsetting a million or so voters in the wider region by putting purified water into their water supply.
It’s a good example of a minority being sacrificed and having to pay a severe price to avoid possibly upsetting the majority. If people throughout the South-East region indicate their support for water recycling, it would also help overcome the feeling that some people in Toowoomba have that they are being used as guinea pigs to test recycling, while other communities are not being subjected to it.
The Toowoomba referendum is this Saturday, and it will certainly be a setback to the wider implementation of water recycling if it does not succeed, although personally I think it is a question of when, not if, recycling is widely implemented. However, the sooner the better for our region and its environment, so I very much hope it does succeed this weekend. I hope to travel up to Toowoomba again on Saturday to do my bit to encourage people to vote Yes.
If you want to sign the petition or print out copies to hand around, click on this link.
(Note that this petition is designed specifically for people of South-East Queensland. While the environmental and health advantages of recycling are the same anywhere, the economics and water supply issues are different in other regions. I know for sure it well and truly stacks up for my own region in the South-East, but I can’t say for sure in every other area).