The simple solutions and financial benefits to plastic and other ocean and river pollution - in our houses, offices, units roads . . . it’s easy
It took over 15 months but Sydney off-grid champion Kylie Ahern has won her battle with Marrickville Council to have a rain tank and disconnect from Sydney Water.
“Off-grid projects are about personal liberty. It’s about my freedom to choose low household bills, to decide where and how I get my energy and water.”
Moi - Michael Mobbs
What’s the reform?
Automatic approvals for off-grid projects.
End the current 7 to 12 months council approval time which results in many farmers and city householders abandoning their off-grid dreams.
Rate rebates and exemption from stormwater charges are needed by farmers and city folk who conserve water, soil, trees or energy.
When a farmer or city property owner spend their own money to conserve natural resources they provide a public benefit beyond their property
Last Friday the first trial drain garden was installed in the footpath outside 13 Oxford St, Newtown as part of Kylie Ahern's off-grid renovation.
The drain garden has these components: a sump into which water drains from the road gutter; two long pits with plants and grates over through which the plants may grow; an overflow point for when the pit fills; capacity to harvest over 29,000 litres of road water a year.
It's designed to bring previously wasted road runoff to irrigate the tree roots below the surface. The aim is to increase the tree height and canopy and to thereby cool the street. If we harvest previously wasted road stormwater to irrigate trees we can cool our cities by several degrees and increase the health of the air we need to live and that's needed by all that's living in cities.
We'll monitor and report on its performance, particularly the accumulation of sediment in the first sump; there's a removable 'pot' to enable easy removal of sediment.
The cost to Kylie of this trial drain garden is $2400. With simpler design and multiple production we expect this to halve.
We're seeking rate rebates and exemption from stormwater levies for Kylie from the local council and the local monopoly water provider, Sydney Water. We're asking governments to give rate rebates to farmers and householders who conserve water and energy on their land and provide a public benefit beyond their boundary. We'll keep you informed about this, too.
Unfortunately, in the brutal way only governments can be, the local council imposed a $3,000 developer levy on Kylie's renovation approval for it to carry out stormwater works; an act of silliness but that, too, is a work in progress as Kylie is seeking a refund.
Anyway, hang on sad tree, water is on its way to you.
Described by many as the nation's greatest orator and motivational speaker, Alan Jones speaks to launch attendees about the brave steps that Kylie is taking to stand up against council in her off-grid journey and deems her a heroine.
Tomorrow we build the first 'Streetgarden" in the footpath outside the Kylie Off-grid renovation project. The local council has approved the trial which is being paid for by Kylie Ahern.
Each year the drain garden will divert over 20,000 litres of water from the street gutter to irrigate a sad, unhealthy tree that is presently denied that water due to the road design.
We'll monitor and report here on the sediment that accumulates in the streetgarden and the impact of the water on the health and height of the tree.
During the construction we'll review the design and cost to make and install the streetgarden and report on that, too.
There's a huge potential to cool our cities by irrigating street trees with stormwater from the road, to clean the air we breath and to improve the value of our infrastructure by reducing the wear and tear on it from stormwater. The Sydney Morning Herald wrote a highly critical article of current government waste of money and water caused by their design and maintenance practices.
Is there some reason the state should accept responsibility for our excreta?
Doesn’t being a mature citizen include the personal obligation to take care of our own waste and other needs unless we’re vulnerable and can only get by with the aid of the state?
On this issue – energy and pollution from pumping water and sewage – Sydney Water is among the State’s 20 biggest carbon polluter because of the energy used to pump its water and sewage.