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Title: URBAN IRRIGATION: A PRODUCTIVE USE OF WATER OR AN OPTIONAL EXTRA?

Author: Amit Chanan, Jaya Kandasamy, Vigid Vigneswaran, Deepak Sharma

Year: 2009

Publisher: European Water Resources Association (EWRA)

Description:

Australian water policy makers commonly consider urban irrigation water use to be more discretionary than indoor water use. Consequently compulsory restrictions on irrigation water use are universally used by urban water utilities as an acceptable means to reduce demand at times of drought. This paper highlights the importance of urban irrigation, which is vital for the survival of the lifestyle horticulture industry. This industry sector employs over 110,000 people across Australia, and values more than 1% of the Australian GDP. Using Kogarah Municipality in South-eastern Sydney, as a case study site, the paper provides water use profile of a local government authority in Sydney. By discussing various social, environmental and significant economic benefits associated with urban irrigation, the paper challenges the idea of compulsory water restrictions. Within
Kogarah, high social value of urban irrigation is evident from annual User Hours figure of over 43,680 for each of its sports fields. Open space supported by urban irrigation also seems to help property values in Kogarah by as much as 20%. Furthermore, urban irrigation supported local golf club has an annual value of approximately $1.95 million to the local economy. Non-potable water reuse is therefore proposed as an urban water policy alternative. Investment by local governments and private golf clubs in decentralised water recycling demonstrates market driven evolution in urban water management. Urban irrigation in Australia is no longer an optional extra, but in fact is a much valued productive use of water.