Get used to living with less water
Southern Australia has become drier and we will all have to learn to live with much less water.
That was the stark warning from one of Australia's leading water policy reformers, Professor Mike Young, at the latest of the University of Adelaide's free Research Tuesdays seminars in October.
"It is now clear to all that the reliability of Australia's, and more particularly, South Australia's water supplies has declined," Professor Young said.
"The situation is worse than many realise. We are now borrowing from the future and it is prudent to assume that we will have to live with much less water."
Professor Young is Professor of Water Economics and Management in the University's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
At Research Tuesday he argued the need for urgent change.
"The more we delay planning to live in this new regime, the greater the costs of changing will be," he said in the lead-up to his public talk.
"We need to understand that the challenges go beyond the River Murray and include the South East and water supply systems for the Yorke Peninsula, the Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and the Outback."
South Australia, he said, had the opportunity to embrace this "new emerging reality" and take a lead as Australia's "most water savvy State".
But to emerge as the international leader in water management, the State and its businesses, researchers and communities would need to adopt a series of permanent policies and measures that provided incentives to reduce consumption by all, and increased the effectiveness of water use and storage.
The Research Tuesdays public seminars - held on the second Tuesday of every month - give leading researchers an opportunity to engage with business, community leaders and the general public on issues that impact on them.
Story by Robyn Mills