Good morning, I am the regional manager of water authority representing my division at this meeting today. I am here to present my developments about the actions that should be taken in order for Melbourne's food supply to be secure in 2050. So, how can Melbourne's foodbowl ensure a reliable food supply in future?
That is a very good question. One problem is climate change. Climate change has andwill continue to reduce the amount of water available for agriculture. Thatwill affect the amount of fruits, vegetables, and other farming in Melbourne.Another problem that we are facing is the recycled water is expensive andcannot always be delivered when required. Sometimes the salt level in water istoo high to be used for irrigation, as it will affect the soil and in result,the vegetables, specifically the appearance of them.
What are the problems?
We have tried to resolveissues many ways, including the Boneo Recycling Scheme. Although it wassuccessful in supplying just over 1,000 mega liters of class a recycled waterfrom the Boneo Treatment Plant, the solution was only small scale and was onlyavailable for use to a small region. Another strategy the water authority triedto use to address the problem was the Werribee Irrigation Scheme. In this, we alsowere successful and quickly became the dominant water supply for the WerribeeIrrigation District during the time of the Millennium Drought.
What, from your view, has been done in the past to try to address the problems? / What strategies have been tried and why?
That is a good question.The Boneo Recycling Scheme was proven successful and has resulted in a newcost- effective accessibilities to recycled water for farmers nearby. Thescheme also provided security in low rainfall years, and even made growingcrops with high water requirements, like radishes possible. The WerribeeIrrigation Scheme was also one that was proven to be effective, and resulted inthe prevention of production in the area from collapsing. It has also reduced environmental impacts on marine environments tanks to the low level of salinityin the water.
What has this strategy or have these strategies resulted in?
Another strategythat has been talked about within the water authority and is also currentlybeing developed is the idea to use mulch or compost in the garden to increasewater absorption and the moisture content of your soil. Since agriculture andfarming produces compost waste, an idea is to use all the compost waste of thefood products that can’t be sold to increase the water and moisture content inthe soil without having to use plants. This method also works for farms withlivestock and other animals, as the faeces from the animals can be absorbed inthe soil to fertilise it without having to use man-made water basedfertilisers.
What do you propose asanother or other solutions/strategies and why?
As some places, such ascertain rivers, parks, etc. hold a significance to the Aboriginal and TorresStrait Islanders, if we were to collect materials or grow materials in theseareas that culturally belong to the Indigenous community, we would have toensure that we still keep the integrity of the landmarks and that we don’tdisrespect the land of those who were here before us.
What is/are the Aboriginaland Torres Strait Islander factors to take into account when looking at theproblems and strategies?