Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who should cricketers vote for at the election?

As written by me to our cricket club:

Well we have on one hand Johnny Howard, the self processed cricket lover who still owes a slab to the Indians for bowling a ball that bounced near his feet. Then there’s KV07, who has nothing really to do with cricket, but at least Bob Hawke had some skill at the game despite being smashed in the face by a West Indies fast bowler. But probably the most important thing for us cricketers that the governments can manage is water. Whilst technically a state issue, both parties have in their budgets water plans.

Water is crucial to our game. In Geelong the whole season was cancelled and this could apply to us in the future. Our own ground hasn’t been watered for 2-3 years now and it is showing. The dirt is so hard only weeds grow and there is a very good chance that the ground will be dug up in the next year or two, hence making our ground unavailable for usage by either soccer or us (like other teams in the competition in the past years). I really can’t imagine our firsts playing at freeway, but that might have to be the way.

But what have the governments got to do with water? Well unbeknown to many, Melbourne’s rainfall is not showing any significant decrease. The media suggests we might be having the worst drought in a thousand years (even though records only go back 100 years), but the graph below shows no downward trend. Ok, the last 5 years have been a little lower than normal, but nothing like the drought of the early 1940s. In fact, every single state, Victoria included, has had more rainfall in the past 50 years than the 50 before that - at an average of 10% more.

So why are we so short of water? Obviously the last 5 years of below average rainfall has caused some of this, but also because Melbourne’s water usage increases in general by 2% each year, largely due to an increasing population. With Melbourne having the biggest increase in population than any other city in the past year (and tipped to outgrow Sydney), something has to be done waterwise. Melbourne has not built a dam since the Thomson in 1978, despite Melbourne’s water usage per year almost doubling since.

Hence the government, albeit a little late, has been working on solutions to this problem. The Mitchell river in Gippsland was previously allocated space for a dam, however the labor party, in their green ideology, made the Mitchell river a national park with the sole intention so that a dam cannot be built there. The labor party (and Vic Water) website said that “new dams do not create new water, but rather steal it from the rivers”. If new dams don’t create new water, then why are we so reliant on the current ones? Twice this year the Mitchell river has over flooded (last time just recently), causing major flood damage in the Gippsland area. Water caused damage which would otherwise be held in a dam for all of us, including our cricket ground, to use.

With Melbourne’s water usage increasing by 2% each year, no extra dams built since the mid 70s, and the labor ideology of not creating another one, labor have turned to a $1 billion National Urban Water and Desalination Plan. A good idea, however this produces one tenth of the water at more than ten times the cost. With desalination plants working hard (desalination plants are high energy producing huge amounts of greenhouse gases), it will only be a year or two before we need more water again due to an increasing population.

The only way to secure cricket being played comfortably and safely is to build a new dam in Gippsland. Desalination plants are merely a short term waste of money, and whilst dams are largely a state not federal issue, labor – state and federally – have clearly said that dams are a no-no. Liberal at least put a new dam on the agenda at their last state election. Water is crucial for our cricket club, and under a labor government, their green ideology will prevent us stealing from rivers that feed the ocean, so that we can play cricket. But hey, at least we all can bowl better than John Howard.

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