Our energy and water future.
The first lecture was given by Professor Stuart White, the director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology in Sydney, talking about the Water-Energy Nexus. The second was given by Martin Thomas, Chairman of Dulhunty Power Ltd, talking about Nuclear Energy. See Martin Thomas's page here.
Professor Stuart White
Presented a enlightened view of water delivery and its relationship with the provision of power. He is the director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology in Sydney. Professor White talked at length about Negalitres, the additional water made available by maximizing the efficiency of water use and this he says is cheapest source of water and reduces the cost of water supply. “There is no point in putting in extra systems to supply more water without maximizing the efficiency of water use first” he said.
The message was clear for Whyalla, Negalitres was the first strategy we should put in place to increase our water by installing more efficient tap regulators, showers, waterless toilets, front loading washing machines and watering systems. “An Integrated approach to water supply that includes waste water, storm water, energy, materials and waste” he said is needed when considering a water supply. For example, “Treatment over transport” he said provides a more efficient and less costly source of water. Local treatment is more economical than building more pipes to bring in more water. Community participation he says is vitally important. Our job is to inform the people so they can make “Value trade offs” to decide what restrictions and costs they are will to accept to have a water supply. This he says rarely happens and we lose all out. If we have “robust community engagement which has strong common sense then we will see remarkable things happen”. He intimated that the worst thing you can do is to leave it to the politicians.
Professor White also discussed the idea of Imbedded energy in water. When the water arrives at our tap, a lot of energy has been used to get it there. The message for us, our water has to be filtered and pumped hundreds of kilometres and this takes a lot of energy and produces large amounts of greenhouse gases.
On the question of the driver for the continual need for more water and power, population increase, Professor White didn’t view population growth as a problem. “It is much more important to reduce the impact per person” he said. It did appear that he had lost sight of the bigger picture: the ever increasing army of people demanding more and more resources.