Unfortunately it seems that the scare campaign has won and the residents of Toowoomba have rejected the proposed recycling of sewage into their drinking supply with 61.6% voting no in yesterday’s referendum.
If this was just the residents of Toowoomba rejecting the most sensible option for dealing with their own problems then I would be inclined to say so what. However given the nature of politics and politicians this will be viewed as a test case for how other communities will react to such a plan and no doubt there will be others silently backing away from recycling proposals. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Sydney could quite cheaply use recycled water for about about 9% of its water usage, but even this modest amount was rejected in favour of the single big ticket solution of desalination.
Of course for non-coastal areas desalination is not even an option so somewhere along the line people are going to have to realise that in the driest continent on earth we are going to have to be a little more sensible about how we reuse our water. The only other option long term is to go for the sort of population cap that some Green groups would propose. Rejecting this is merely the residents sticking their heads in the sand and hoping their problems go away or someone else solves it for them.