The Queensland Greens believe:
- The health of catchments, rivers, estuaries and ground water systems underpin the health of our communities and environment and the prosperity of agriculture and industry.
- Queensland's fresh water supplies are coming under increasing pressure as a result of growing populations and fluctuating resource security with climate change.
- The increasing extraction of water from the natural environment and the treatment of water as a tradable commodity must not compromise the intrinsic value of water in the natural environment.
- We promote local area solutions using the principals of water sensitive urban design, improved water efficiency, and the capture of rain water and stormwater. Energy intensive and environmentally damaging solutions like desalination, inter-basin transfer of water, excessive ground water extractions or the damming of river systems are the least preferred of all new water supply options.
The Queensland Greens want to:
- Retain water resources and water infrastructure in public ownership.
- Protect the remaining wild rivers and promote improved agricultural irrigation efficiency and the control of runoff quality.
- Restrict extractions from ground water aquifers so they do not exceed the recharge rate subject to comprehensive hydrological surveys.
- Support water recycling particularly through local area dual supply networks for non-potable uses. Where recycled water is added to raw water storage dams (such as the Western Corridor Purified Recycled Water Scheme) this should occur continually to ensure maximum dilution and retention times. Rigorous water quality testing results for the water leaving the recycling system should be publicly available on a monthly basis.
- Maintain desalination as a last resort option to be considered only after demand management, rain and stormwater harvesting, recycling and water efficiency options have been exhausted. Desalination plants should be fully run on new 100% renewable energy and the discharge of the brine concentrate must be managed to negate any potential ecological impact.
- Protect and enhance environmental flows in urban water courses to maintain both the the variability and minimum flow rates required for the ecological health of the streams. Planning approval for stormwater harvesting and development in floodplains must be evaluated for their potential impact on water courses.
- Promote local area solutions to urban water cycle management including the capture of rainwater, treatment of sewage to a standard where it can enhance environmental flows or be re-used, and the use of water sensitive urban design principles.
The Queensland Greens will:
- Stop the construction of any new large scale dams in Queensland (including the Mary River/Traveston Crossing Dam).
- Provide state assistance to upgrade drinking water treatment systems to ensure that water providers can supply drinking water at World Health Organisation and Australian Drinking Water Quality guideline standards.
- Extend existing programs that work with agriculture and industry to control nutrients and sediments impacting on the Great Barrier Reef and other receiving waters.
- Establish water efficiency standards for all appliances and a system to certify residential water efficiency to be provided at the point of sale.
- Implement a program to cap all bores.
- Introduce and extend recycled water programs to achieve 'fit for purpose' water treatment standards, primarily for non-potable supply. Where recycled water is used to supplement drinking water supplies there must be transparent and rigorous safeguards to prevent impacts on public health.
- Ensure that any proposed desalination site is subjected to rigorous, independent studies to show that it is indeed the best site for a desalination plant on grounds of environmental sustainability.
- Establish rigorous standards for sediment controls during development and construction including a system of monitoring and compliance regulation.