Through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), over the 17 days leading up to the Australia’s national election we will be highlighting the challenge for an inclusive and sustainable Australia, what can be done to address the challenge and what BCSD Australia, as part of a global WBCSD network is doing to create impact.
On Day 6, we are looking at SDG6: Clean water & sanitation
The SDG Index reveals an incomplete picture of Australia’s response to this Goal, due to the lack of key data. Australia performs well at the global scale for water extractions per capita, having reduced water use by 45 per cent per capita between 2001 and 2011, as irrigation efficiency and water-saving techniques have led to a reduction in agricultural water consumption accompanied by increased productivity.
However, the SDG Progress Report shows that the indicator for water affordability in Australia has worsened. And recent figures from the Bureau of Meteorology show water storage in the majority of Australia’s capital cities is hovering at or below the 50 per cent mark, with rainfall having been well below average all year for much of the south-east of the country.
The need to implement integrated water resources management at all levels:
A governance overhaul is needed of the multi-state Murray-Darling Basin Plan to continue its work to reduce historic over-allocations for consumption which has resulted in severe environmental stresses across the basin.
Improvement of the National Water Initiative to prepare for a potential repeat of the millennial drought conditions experienced between 1996 – 2010 which devastated much of southern Australia and prompted a new Australian consciousness about water scarcity.
Develop a water plan to enable access to safe drinking water for remote Indigenous communities, as current water supplies and sanitation services are unacceptable.
Urgent attention to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, rivers, and aquifers.
What is BCSD Australia doing to create impact to address this challenge?
We are working with a number of partner organisations on projects that will help to address this challenge here in Australia and around the world, including: