David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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ACHIEVEMENT: Household water audits are available as a way of informing willing households to assess and reduce their water use.

TARGET DATE: September 2004. PROGRESS: Achieved.

DESCRIPTION: A Melbourne Household Water Audit Services would probably involve a considered assessment of how water is used in your household and an assessment on how easy it would be to reduce water use or increase the effectiveness of water where it is used.

MCC households would be invited to participate. Auditors would check the garden and dwelling of each participating household and provide a concise 'easy to follow' report on the most practical and economical options for cutting water usage. Practical assistance in installing some of the measures could be provided to households that lack someone with DIY ability. Examples of water saving measures inside a house include efficient use of dishwashing machines, modification of single flush toilets; eg, insertion of used plastic bottles in cisterns is a low cost option, water efficient showerheads and so on.

Outside the house advice can be offered on soil water retention improvement; eg, adding organic compost, water efficient garden irrigation systems; eg, using inexpensive tubing to be attached to taps, water efficient plantings (especially natives, or cacti/succulents), ways of improving plants drought tolerance; eg, deep watering rather than constant light watering, mulching and so on.

The service could include providing a service that utilises local horticulturalists, either professional or knowledgeable amateur enthusiasts, and other people with appropriate knowledge and skills; eg, Green DIY enthusiasts, to conduct Water Use Audits of local households. It would be possible to train volunteers, or use casual employees, to assist with the Audit - hence increased labour demand and therefore jobs, or a possible vocational training option for the unemployed.

This remedy could be low cost or cost neutral over the longer term for participating households- due to cheaper water bills. There are a large number of practical low cost water conserving options that have been successfully utilised in other communities, in addition to those I have mentioned above, that auditors could research using the internet as a quick and cheap research methodology.

The City of Melbourne has begun a pilot program in Kensington and North Melbourne called 'Greensaver', providing water and energy audits free of charge.

GreenSaver aims to reduce water and energy use in the residential sector, by offering education and advice, detailed audits and subsidised water and energy efficient products. GreenSaver is a partnership between the City of Melbourne, Green Plumbers and CSIRO. It is being offered to Kensington and North Melbourne residents as a pilot program, after which we hope to offer it to other residents in the municipality. It is limited to 400 households.

The program is set to roll out in mid March, but we are taking expressions of interest now. By registering your expression of interest, you will be placed on a contact list to receive more information (details are currently being finalised), and be part of an 'early bird' invitation when the Green Plumber bookings are made available.

To register, phone 9658 9658. (In the interest of tracking the success of our communications, please let the hotline staff know that you found out about this program through a Council officer.)

We hope to invite the North Melbourne and Kensington Sustainability Street groups to be involved in GreenSaver, not just by getting a Green Plumber booking themselves, but also providing advice on the program at a focus group meeting soon to be organised. Further information is available by calling 9658 9658. The program is being co-ordinated by Nick Alsop.

FURTHER INFORMATION: This idea was developed by Steve Munn of the Darebin Greens and forwarded to me as an idea that could be introduced into communities across Victoria, as well as in Melbourne.

This initiative would complement progress made in water conservation through other Green Achievements including;

A 20 Year Water Management Regime
$5 million Sustainable Melbourne Fund for the community to improve environmental sustainability
Composting Melbourne
Establish a Green On-Site Mulching Service
Financial and environmental gains through intelligent water conservation measures
Growing Green
Mulch Melbourne
Provide Information on Locally Indigenous Flora with Rate Notices
Sustainability Street
Water Campaign Pilot Council
Worming Melbourne


Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

This site is written, authorised and maintained by David Risstrom , 377 Little Bourke St. Melbourne, Australiaand had more than 1,003,082 visitors and 3,052,017 hits when updated on Sun 23 April 2017.