Thursday, August 03, 2006 | Toowoomba is far from a small town. It is the largest inland city in Australia, with a population exceeding 90,000.
While the yuck factor certainly figured in the strong no vote on the issue of drinking recycled sewage water, far more important were the following issues:
1. There was very little community consultation by the Toowoomba City Council – the mayor told the city to “drink it or buy bottled water.”
The mayor voted herself $460,000 to spend on the YES campaign while allocating no funds to the NO campaign.
2. The recycled sewage water project was fundamentally flawed. The failure to properly budget for the reverse osmosis waste stream disposal would have seen the project’s costs double. The project was also supposed to produce 11,000 ML of recycled sewage water from 8,000 ML of sewage – an impossibility.
3. Toowoomba has many other water source options, including access to irrigator water, coal seam gas water and linking into the proposed regional water grid.
4. A no vote put all the other options back on the table. These options are now being examined.