Zero net emissions and water efficiency is Hawkesbury's plan

A smarter approach to power is part of the plan. Picture: Supplied
A smarter approach to power is part of the plan. Picture: Supplied

Hawkesbury Council is pushing ahead with its goal of leading the way when it comes to achieving net zero emissions and promoting efficient water use across the city.

At its last meeting it approved its draft strategy for 56 days of public exhibition.

The plan outlines a number of ways the council can achieve emissions and water reductions across its operations and the broader local government area.

According to its report, it aims to: "assist to deliver a climate resilient community with economic benefits for council and the community through decreased operational costs and environmental benefits".

For it to be a success, it requires not only the diligence of council, but the entire community, including residents, business and state government agencies.

The goal for it to reach the net zero emissions target by 2030 or earlier, to see no net increase in potable water use, and for all non-potable water to be serviced using recycled water.

For the broader community, the hope is zero net emissions by 2050.

The document highlights a number of strategies and an action plan to help reach these goals, with council "leading by example".

Addressing council before debate was Helen Sobiesiak, representing Hawkesbury Climate Action Network [CAN].

Hawkesbury CAN was formed in August this year and has been meeting regularly via Zoom.

"Hawkesbury CAN draws together people who see climate change as probably the greatest challenge facing our planet," Ms Sobiesiak said.

"The unprecedented fires experienced in the Hawkesbury last summer and indeed in many parts of eastern Australia following a long period of drought and high temperatures is a stark reminder that accelerated climate change is not some far off thing in the future, but is something that is happening now, thus the need for action.

"But instead of just ringing our hands and panicking about climate change, Hawkesbury CAN believe that we can work together with the local community and local government to develop strategies to reduce carbon emissions and to live more sustainably. So the focus is on action."

Ms Sobiesiak said that her group would be making a submission to the draft strategy.

"We applaud the Hawkesbury Council for this positive action to address climate change and look forward to a time when we have achieved net zero emissions and improved water efficiency," she said.

"As for my involvement in Hawkesbury CAN, I'm a retired geography teacher and I've had a long-term interest in the environment and the interconnectednes of all things, in particular, the impacts of humans on the environment. And it is the negative human impacts that have led to accelerating climate change.

"As well as this, I now have six grandchildren all aged five and under and my involvement in Hawkesbury CAN is motivated by a very deep desire to pass onto them a safer and better world."

Councillor Danielle Wheeler endorsed the draft strategy.

"This isn't just an eco-friendly feelgood, there is really good economic imperatives behind these changes as well," she said

She said that she hoped the community got behind the initiatives and beat the 2050 zero emissions goal.