Citation

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Vellacott, S., 1992. Progress in the development of a water-care ethic for the Pilbara region of Western Australia. BMR Journal of Australian Geology and Geophysics  13:1:75-82. Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Canberra.

Abstract

Mining towns in the Pilbara region of Western Australia have daunting problems that hamper efforts to apply water-conservation techniques: compacted heavy clay water-shedding soils, an evaporation rate ten times the mean annual rainfall (less than 300 mm), summer temperatures above 40°C, and long periods without rain. Town water supplies are drawn mainly from underground sources. Until recently, domestic consumption was heavily subsidised, and water was used copiously to create gardens reminiscent of a less harsh environment. Since the boom times, mining companies have adopted more realistic policies on private and public water use. With the introduction of home-ownership schemes, they replaced water subsidies with generous incentives to convert gardens to low-water use. Major reductions in water consumption were achieved: 50 per cent in Dampier (entire town) between 1985 and 1990; 38 per cent in Karratha (households only) between 1980-81 and 1990; and 39 per cent in Wickham (households only) between 1984 and 1990. Some important community-based initiatives were developed in the 1980s: native-plant nurseries, arid landscaping for remote Aboriginal communities, demonstration garden projects, and horticultural courses and programs to help disadvantaged people to acquire work skills. Recent government water-care initiatives have included establishing the Pilbara Water Conservation Advisory Committee, the first of its kind in Western Australia. With support from the Water Authority in Karratha, the committee is undertaking a community education program. The support of industry, through funding and personal involvement, contributes to the success of local projects. Professionals could contribute further by applying their skills and experience to public education, research, trials, demonstrations, and workshops. The funding of regional and local projects and research, the establishment of water-conservation committees, liaison with local groups, and promotion of a holistic environmental ethic are all appropriate activities for the State and Federal Governments. The approach to land care provides a good model for the development of a water-care ethic for the Pilbara region. The problems which made land care, and now water care, necessary have their roots in attitudes to the whole environment. The issue of water conservation cannot be tackled in isolation from other conservation issues .
Google map showing geographic bounding box with values North bound -19.5 East bound 120.0 West bound 115.5 South bound -24.0
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Product Type/Sub Type

nonGeographicDataset - GA Publication - Journal

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license
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence

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Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia)

Author(s)

Date (publication)

1992

Product Type

nonGeographicDataset

Topic Category

geoscientificInformation

Keywords

GA Publication
Journal
Earth Sciences

Resource Language

English

Resource Character Set

utf8

Resource Security Classification

unclassified

Geographic Extent

North bound
-19.5
East bound
120.0
West bound
115.5
South bound
-24.0

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Unknown

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onLine

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pdf

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fae9173a-70f9-71e4-e044-00144fdd4fa6

Metadata Standard Name

ANZLIC Metadata Profile: An Australian/New Zealand Profile of AS/NZS ISO 19115:2005, Geographic information - Metadata

Metadata Standard Version

1.1

Metadata Date Stamp

2015-03-23

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unclassified

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Organisation Name
Geoscience Australia
City
Canberra
Administrative Area
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Postal Code
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Country
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