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City dwellers and farmers must work together to improve water efficiency, or the food demands of our growing population will not be met says Associate Professor Malano. “Water efficiency is everyone’s business, both city dwellers and farmers. If nothing is done about managing our state’s water more effectively then the consequences could be very severe,” he says.

“With the population of Melbourne expected to reach five million, we could end up with a situation where we simply can’t satisfy the city’s water demands and our agricultural areas simply can’t satisfy our growing food demands.”

Associate Professor Malano says one of the best tools for ensuring more efficient use of our water is an aggressive pricing policy. He was not alarmed that the cost of water is set to increase by up to 100 per cent during the next five years, instead saying that a more aggressive pricing policy would encourage businesses, especially water intensive industries, to recycle more water. “There are certain types of water uses that require specific quality, but recycled water for example can be used easily for agricultural purposes,” he says.

“The plan to use 100 per cent recycled water is going to become a necessity. We need to look at all the sources of water that we have, and think about using them in different ways.”