Waterwise message working

After such a dry year this year it is not particularly surprising to find out in today's story on page 3 that water levels in southern Eyre Peninsula's underground basins have declined.

However it is somewhat reassuring that groundwater extraction rates have also dropped.

Water restrictions introduced in 2002 not only helped reduce the region's water use at the time, but they also seemed to have created long-term water conservation habits in the local community.

To go from using 9000 megalitres a year to 5000ML a year in the last decade or so is a huge reduction.

It would be hard to pinpoint exactly what has driven these water savings and there are probably many factors that have contributed but community awareness would have played its part, combined with people capturing their own rainwater, public initiatives like the Port Lincoln council's water reuse scheme and the availability of more water efficient products.

While we cannot control rainfall we can control how we capture, use (and potentially re-use) it and it seems the message has gotten through and people are using water more conservatively.

Port funding

The announcement this week that the federal government is chipping in $25 million to help kick-start the proposed Cape Hardy deep-sea port is a significant one for the project.

While $25 million will only be a small amount of the total needed to get the port up and running, it is a good start.

Apart from the financial benefit, this commitment from the federal government signals an important vote of confidence in the project, which will no doubt be helpful in attracting the remainder of the funding needed for the project - starting with the $167-milllion stage one.