Victoria cannot guarantee future water and energy supplies if the state fails to address climate change, warned Victoria’s peak environment group.
The warning follows the release of a CSIRO report that shows climate change could cut Melbourne’s water supply by 35% by 2050.
Environment Victoria’s Climate Change Coordinator Tricia Phelan said the world’s best science showed that climate change meant more drought and less rainfall for Victoria.
“We are already experiencing the worst drought since 1788. Scientists say droughts will only get worse as climate change increases,” she said.
“The 2002-03 drought cost an estimated $5 billion in rural exports and cut Australia’s economic growth by about a third.
We must therefore urgently act to curb climate change. Victorians, some of the worst climate change polluters on the planet, must reduce our energy use, must use more renewable energy, and above all must move away from our reliance on coal.”
EV’s Healthy Rivers Campaign Director, Dr Paul Sinclair, agreed: “We are cutting our own throats and missing opportunities to secure our water and energy supplies for the future if we don’t deal with these polluting and wasteful industries today. Dead rivers and dried up water supplies will be just symptoms of a big dirty energy problem. We must not wait until we have a 35% drop in water supplies to act.”
Ms Phelan said the Bracks Government could help fight climate change.
“The Bracks Government must reject the expansion of Hazelwood – Australia’s most climate change polluting power station – and refuse to give the power station new coal.”
She said Hazelwood was also the biggest Gippsland Water user of all the Latrobe Valley power stations, using 15 gigalitres (GL) of water a year. This compared to:
“It is imperative that all Victorians do not underestimate the urgency and enormity of climate change. Each and every one of us will be affected. Householders and most importantly the Bracks Government must act now before it’s too late.”
Download Melbourne Water Climate Change Study: Implications of Potential Climate Change for Melbourne’s Water Resources