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New Inventors -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) in Australia. The head of the

capitalive research centre,

Professor Terry DeLacy says if

a blueprint can be developed

here it could be applied to

anywhere there is a demand for

tourism done ms. We could use

this as sa case study and use

it in the future. We want to

get an overview and understand

it at a detailed level and then

apply it to the big picture of Australia. The study has

already found catering to a

change in tourist demands is

one of the big issues facing

Exmouth. We've got to give them

a real authentic

experience. And this is just

what people are looking for

when they visit Exmouth, say

locals. While the tourism

industry has been wholeheartedly embraced, they

want limits on development to

preserve the area as main

attraction - its wilderness. People, flairly

international people, and a lot

of Australians now, are crying

out for maintained widerness or

un disturb ed wilderness and

that is very, very important

that we do keep that.

Hamish Fitzsimmons. For an

extended version of the Antony

Beevor interview or to revit

any of our stories, just go to our website at, That's the

program for tonight. We'll be

back at the same time tomorrow,

but for now, goodnight.

Closed Captions by CSI

we dive in the deep end. Tonight, on The New Inventors, We ask, what could you do It's all about water. water self-sufficient. to make your house totally out of thin air, Also, a way of getting water some of the water-saving inventions and we find out what's happened to we've seen on The New Inventors. Hello, I'm James O'Loghlin of The New Inventors. and welcome to this special episode there's no competition tonight It's our very first special, now realises is crucial - and it's on an issue that everyone water-saving. It's a huge problem. in fact, all people And the way that Australians, is by innovating and inventing. have always solved problems Australian inventions and innovations Tonight, we'll see some of the ways can help us through the water crisis. But first, how big is the problem? abundant. Now we know it's not. We used to live as if water was and yet our water-use per person Australia is the driest continent

after the US and Canada. is the third highest in the world Our rivers are stressed and in decay twice the size of Tasmania. and salinity threatens an area are also in decline. But most of our fresh water supplies water supply was at 60%, A year ago, Canberra's now it's under 35%. now it's 14%. In Ballarat last year, it was 40%, And how much water do we use? Had a hamburger lately? 11,000 litres of water to make. Every hamburger you eat takes If you own a medium-size car,

to build it. it took 83,000 litres of water of water a day. On average, we use 135 litres But we recycle under 10% of that. you use as much water Every time you flush the toilet, developing world uses in a whole day. as the average person in the

some good news soon, or better news. Yikes! But don't panic, there'll be of, well, they're not judges tonight. As always, I'm joined by our panel

interested analysts. They're concerned and Chris Russell, Please welcome agricultural scientist science journalist, Bernie Hobbs Sally Dominguez. Welcome. and inventor and designer, ALL: Thank you. Now, in preparation for tonight, that audits our own water use. we've all been keeping a water diary How did you find it, Chris? One thing I discovered is, It was interesting. a shower every day. my sons actually do have My partner doesn't. egg timers up in the shower We set some egg timers - four-minute you don't need four minutes to see whether...actually, under the shower to use that. That surprised me. So, I think that was overkill. What did you find out, Bernie? I'm pretty tight with water, I'm shocked, because I think that recycle the water from the shower. always short showers and stuff and I still used. I'm shocked at how much Really? Sally? I thought I'd come in low as.

you can fit in one shower. It all comes down to how many people in my case four, And you get to divide it by,

with the opposition. and hopefully will wipe the floor one of the kids in with you? Always. Is it true when you shower, you drag the tightest with water, We'll find out who was supply at the end of the show. who had the lowest average daily like this one, Solving problems, even huge problems begins with imagination. ordinary inner city Australian house So, let's imagine. Let's imagine an designed in such a way the water board and say, that the occupants could ring up

You can cut us off. "We don't need you anymore. we're self-sufficient." "As far as water goes, Let's have a look at it. Well, this house is a reality. Hello, I'm Michael Mobbs. on a small block in inner Sydney. I live in a two-storey terrace in our water. completely self-sufficient We decided a while ago to be brings the rainwater The roof guttering down into a 10,000 litre tank which sits under our back deck. I have a first flush diverter of dirty roof water away. to take the first few litres does fall into the tank The subsequent rainwater that the shower and the dishwasher then feeds into our sinks, goes to feed my frogs. and any overflow it becomes waste water. After we've used this water, filtration tank It's cleaned in a large organic and again, it's below our back deck. we use it in the toilet, So, rather than send it away, and in the garden. the clothes washing machine water-saving devices inside - I've still got a few front loading washing machine - A low-flow showerhead, to block off the main sewer pipe, all of which have enabled me to lock off the main water supply I never need them. because quite frankly, of this house, Please welcome the occupant a sustainability coach, a man who calls himself Michael Mobbs. APPLAUSE Hi, James. Hi, Michael. What happened? day you went into the water board. I would have loved to be there the my Sydney Water meter... I walked in with You took it in? Yeah.

And I said, here's my water meter and she said, "You can't do that."

I said, "I know, but here it is."

The journey of a drop of water in your house, it'll land on the roof, what happens then? Comes down to the gutter, and then the gutter takes it, in my case, to a tank, but if people wanted to do something like this, they don't have to have it up on a stand, they could have it on the ground. In my case, I've got it under my deck. Why should you have the tank on the western side there? It's a nice way to keep the sun off the wall of the house and keep it cool. Then the water will continue its journey from your water tank either to the bathroom, shower or sink, or the kitchen. It's used once, then it goes down here. What happens down here? Oh, look at that. There's a hidden tank. All of the waste from every point of the house goes to the tanks below the deck in my house and is reused inside the house. So this is when it becomes... it's grey water coming in here and then coming out of here, it's then used flushing the toilet, in the laundry or in your garden. Yes, I use it for those purposes. So, those are not drinking quality purposes

so I don't need fresh rainwater.

I can just reuse that drop that you spoke about, time and time again. There's also a lovely, practical idea you've got for pipes leading out into sewerage. Yeah. It's just wonderful when you look at our streetscape and you see what you can do for free. Imagine your house, and it's taking water out to the street. What you can do is just undo that pipe, and drill holes in it, and the water from that can drain to feed your trees in your street and stop going into the harbour or the river and be wasted.

Is that legal? Well, I spoke to my council and they said, how can we help? Imagine that. And you reckon you're saving 100,000 litres of sewerage going to the ocean every year? Yeah. And I stop 100,000 litres of water coming out of the dam. I leave that there for the farmers and stop 100,000 litres of stormwater going into Sydney Harbour. I'm just an ordinary guy, I can barely drive a nail. I've been doing it for 10 years. No one's died. It's dead easy. Come and sit down. A round of applause for Michael. Well, Chris, what do you think about all this? Michael, the sad thing about this is that this is seen as something out of the box. In the country, people have been doing this for years. They've always had to be independent of the water mains, haven't had any, had to use ground water, had to have their own septic systems. Of course, the difference is they have much bigger blocks of land. So, my first question would be, planners are really jamming more and more people into smaller and smaller blocks of land. What do you think is the sustainable population density that can work with a environmental system like this? That's a great question. I have a dinky little house. I don't have an estate. It's five metres wide. It's a terrace that was built in the 1890s. I've taken that existing terrace on a site of land 150 square metres. My garden, my estate, is about 20 square metres. If I can do it there, we can do it on any block of land anywhere in Australia. What about in apartments? Can you do it? Absolutely. They're actually perfect because they have this sort of vertical river, all these stacks in which pipes go up and down. All you do is, in the space of one car park, instead of a car, you put a rainwater tank. The waste from about 2-4 units could supply in grey water, toilet flushing water, for the, I guess 20-30 other units in the unit. Michael, what's the big block then that stops people from going...? 'Cause you've got this ideal thing about rooftop as our catchment and treating everything like a mini slice of nature on the block. What's the big block? I think there are two blocks. Ourselves, our fear. The second thing are governments, and I think what we have to say is, we should give up hope. They're just not going to do it. So the only people that are going to do it are we Australians. Let them go to parliament and yabber away, but while they're doing that, we can do what we can do. But the third block is, you've got to put you hand in your own pocket. Well, that's right. Over the last 10 years, would you have paid for your investment? Yeah. For the water system, I would have paid for the investment, yes.

Sally? There's been a lot of innovation in the last 10 years with, especially, grey water. What would you do differently if you were building again now? I would have even more confidence in my inner voice. 'Cause the builders, the engineers, the architects, they kept saying, "You're trying to do too much." But when you look at the language, they're saying, "You're asking me to do too much and I'm afraid." Now, I trust my guts and I just go for it. And I know that in another 10 years, I might be normal.

One day you might be normal. Michael, it's been wonderful to hear from you.

Quite inspiring in some ways. Thank you very much for coming in. It's all very well to have ideas. But how hard is it to get those ideas out there and into your home? We've seen many water-saving inventions since The New Inventors began in 2004.

So, let's find out what's happened to some of them. The Every Drop Shower Saver is a lever that fits to the base of the shower stem which makes it easy to save water and still have a great shower. Please welcome from Sydney and now fully dressed, Michael Stavrou. If we had had stock to sell,

we would have sold about 500 in the first week, but I wasn't happy with the quality of the valves. And it took me a year to get it manufactured to my requirements. I like it being small and slowly growing and being the secret weapon to saving water. So, who would have thought it? Here's a new way of turning on a tap. Look, no hands!

Every Care Water Miser is a foot-operated pressure pad which allows you to turn your water on and off without using your hands. We got a tremendous amount of interest. We had most probably about 200 emails and I was quite certain within a year, they'd be on the market. But unfortunately the manufacturers weren't prepared to go on with it. The Enviro Save Water System saves the cold water that first flows from a hot water tap for reuse the next time a cold water tap is turned on.

It's wonderful to see a man who's invented something because his wife told him to. Please welcome from Oakey near Toowoomba, Lloyd Linson-Smith. Probably the biggest hurdle I've had is getting through Australian Standards. When I went to Australian Standards,

there was no standard for my invention. So, we had to create one. There's 60 pages and that's all the invention. So, all that has to be created from nothing. That was harder than inventing the actual water-saver. We've sort of lived through this together, it's been a pretty hard road. So, we've seen what's happened to some of the inventions that have been on the show. But how hard is it really to get a new invention aimed at saving water through the maze of government regulation and into your home? Well, we've invited back a couple of inventors who had spent the last few years trying to do just that. Firstly, remember this? Our invention's both environmental and multi-functional. And it can make a great piece of sculpture in your backyard. Maybe, just maybe, water tanks don't have to be big and round and cumbersome. Waterwall is a modular rainwater storage system. Rainwater's collected from the roof, piped into the tank through a 200mm leaf-strainer in the top of the tank. Why this particular shape? All that quilting stops the thing bulging and becoming a round tank. If it was flat plastic down, it'd go pear-shaped. It was the battle of the bulge. I thought the blue one looked really nice against the vegetables. And yes, it does come in other colours which is important. Please welcome back to The New Inventors, Mitch O'Sullivan. Hi, how are you? Now, you've poured your soul into this for a couple of years and a lot of your own money. Yes, all of it. Over half a million bucks, am I right? Over half a million dollars. You're not an independently wealthy guy. $500,000 we didn't have. What happened at the end of last year? It was about September last year, sales went nuts. Just like that? Just like that. I could give you a day. Suddenly, we were selling tanks. Made any money out of it yet? Not quite. Ask me at the end of the year. Right. Well, thank you very much for that. We'll talk to you more in a moment. But let's have a look at another invention. Remember this one? The Perpetual Water system recycles grey water to the highest standard with the least effort. Our computer controlled system diverts grey water into a sump where it removes hair and lint. This is in some ways, the crux of the whole thing. What goes on in here? It is cutting-edge technology known as active absorption filtration where it's able to remove the dissolved contaminants, both the organics, inorganics and the biological contaminants. So, that means things you can see are removed from the water, but also things that you can't. But how pure is the water coming out? Could I use it to water my veggie patch, for example? Water meets what they call Class A recycled water standards, which is the highest possible standard in Australia. What amount of water would you save in a year by installing this system?

About 60% of the water used inside the house.

Really? It can treat up to 720 litres a day. Welcome back to The New Inventors, John Grimes. Good to see you again, John. My pleasure.

We heard Mitch talking about that tipping point at the end of last year. What's your experience been? Coming on the show was the tipping point for us. We've had all this pent-up demand and we've only turbo-charged as a business in the last three months. That's really as accreditation to sell the units, health accreditation has come online in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. But that took a while. That took, since we've last been on the show. So, that's been a very, very slow and lengthy process to do that. Come and have a seat, John. Thank you. Well, it's interesting to discuss this 'cause often when we see inventions, we say goodbye and we wonder what's happened next. So, now we can find out. Sally. Mitch, I'm a huge fan of your tank. I know that there are big raw material shortages in the rotamoulding industry. So what can you do? What are you doing to get around that? We've got a great manufacturer who's helped us out no end and he's very cunning. Very frustrating things for someone who just wants to ship tanks.

I'm going, "Max, where are the red tanks?" And she goes, "I can't get the red powder." The demand's just caught everyone out a bit. I know. Cut the price on the blue tanks. Straightaway. Treated grey water and black water for irrigation purposes is a bit of a no-brainer as far as I can see and I know there's a town in NSW, North Richmond, I think, where they've done an experiment of taking the whole town's water, treating it and they irrigate a whole area of land which they've had dairy cows growing on and the most beautiful pastures. So, one of the questions I have is it possible for people on this level to pool their resources and is this water guaranteed to be good enough that they can then sell it on a mega litre basis to outlying farmers around the town and say, "you can buy water from us." I think that's the way of the future. I think we're going to see water trading models start to emerge. I think that's exactly the sort of model that we should be pursuing. We have the solutions, it's just a matter of putting them in place.

So, what's going to turn that around? Is this just apathy or are we talking about a cost problem, are we still worried about dissolved hormones and pharmaceuticals? What is it that's stopping this happening? I think there's not consistency between the states and then even between councils. So, in one case in NSW, there's a council that wants to have a complete development application process to put one of these units in and charge $1,000 development application fee for the privilege. I think I live in that council. That could be the case for tanks too which is ludicrous.

Some councils will ask you to put a DA in for tanks, too, don't they? It's all well and good for people who own houses to install things like this, but I rent and what I love about yours is that it's detachable and you can move it when you move. Have you had a big uptake? Are you really eating into that rental market? I've been surprised 'cause quite a few renters have bought tanks and just gone, "No worries. We'll take it with us." And, John, with yours, one of the things you do that a lot of the other grey water systems haven't bothered looking at is you've really watched the pH of the water coming out so that there's no worry that the soil's going to become too acidic or too basic over time which is a big issue. When I read that again, I thought, have all of us have been chucking out grey water straight from the washing machine on to the backyard all this time? Have you seen signs that we're doing damage to soil? Absolutely. And here's another contradiction. In Victoria, you're able to put grey water through a sprinkler system. Untreated grey water full of phosphorus, high in salt, high pH. So, in time you're really going to start to see some soil damage. Thank you both for coming back here. We really admire the perseverance. And hopefully a lot of people will benefit from it, from the fact that you didn't give up. Thank you very much, John. Thank you very much, Mitch. APPLAUSE

The world is full of inventions that, when they were first suggested, were laughed at. TV is probably one. "It'll never work," they said. Now it does. In looking at water in a whole new way, we need to be practical. But we also need to dream. About three years ago, I began to think about how to capture water from the air. The Max Windmill makes it possible to collect water anywhere it is needed. The secret to that was the invention of a new kind of wind turbine which drives a refrigeration system which just cools the air very quickly and allows it to condense out and be collected. There's enough water in the air to provide everyone on earth with a swimming pool of water every week. Please welcome from Perth, Dr Max Whisson. APPLAUSE Hi, Max. Thank you very much for coming all this way. My pleasure. What a brilliant idea - get it out of thin air. The simplest things take the longest to invent, I suppose. Shall we have a look at how it works? You have one of these on top of your roof. 4-5m tall. And it would rotate to follow the wind. It has to face the wind, yes.

And when the wind comes through, it only has to be what, 10km an hour? Well, she really powers up at 5km an hour, but to get... We have a little hutch so that it only engages when the wind gets a little stronger. In about 10km it should start. And these all start spinning. That's right. And when they spin, they create power and that power is used to cool these... now, what are these called? Well, condensation panels. Yeah, right. So to cool them down, to basically make a mini-fridge. Standard refrigeration, really. And then the same air comes through and the water condenses because it's at an appropriate temperature on top of the panels, runs down and into a water tank. Now, with one of these four metre high vanes, how much water could you collect in a day? Well, about 4,000 litres... 4,000 litres? very low efficiency. But it's more likely to be about 8,000 litres a day. Come and sit down, Max. It's amazing. It's one of those ideas that potentially could just turn the whole thing on its head, couldn't it? The possibilities... Are big! Big. Very big. Certainly a lot bigger than I first anticipated. I'm incredibly excited. Let's see what the panel think. Sally? I'm excited. But, Max, you're saying places with no water whereas I'm seeing it right in the thick of it because, the currents up on top of skyscrapers in the middle of the city have fantastic wind currents up there. If you had the space at the top of the skyscraper and all these winds going, could you bank them or do you think that the air flow between them

would compromise the working? Oh no, you've got plenty of potential for a large number of units. You need probably 300-400m between them only, to avoid effects downstream. Is it quiet? It's absolutely silent. Just forgetting for a moment where the power's coming from, it takes 1-2 kilowatt hours per 1,000 litres to do recycled water. Desalination somewhere between 3-5 kilowatt hours per 1,000 litres. Forgetting where the power's coming from, how many kilowatt hours per 1,000 litres are you going to take? I don't have accurate measurements of this. But you're talking about evaporative distillation as a desalination method, it's similar to that. would be rather less

because you have several steps in most desalination systems. Bernie. I love this, Max, because it is right out there. But it's just an engineering problem more than anything else, getting this to work on the large scale. I love the science you're using. And when we're talking about cost, $40,000 sounds like a lot of money but not to someone with no water or not to places like Australia where we're struggling to get enough water just to get by agriculturally, as well as in town. Is it going to work in cold climates? Are you going to be able to get a big enough difference on the refrigeration panels... There are two points there, really.

You can't get any water in the Antarctic or the Arctic

because there's no water in the air. But in Europe, for example, I don't see any problem. There is water in the air certainly, 10 or 12 or 15 grams per cubic metre even in the cooler climates

and that means that your turbines don't have to cool the air quite so much. It's incredibly exciting and don't forget us. Remember, you know... Please thank Dr Max Whisson. APPLAUSE

In this hand I have a piece of paper.

It will announce the results of our water diary challenge. All four of us kept a water diary for a week. Then we worked out on average how much water we use a day.

We've got to have a winner, it's an episode of The New Inventors. So, let's see who it is. I use 105 litres of water a day. But Bernie, you use more - 133 litres a day. Chris - rural background, quite stingy - 76 litres per day. And Sally, the winner - 62 litres a day. Yes! Well done! How did you do it? And can you do it for more than a week under scrutiny? I can, because I have been really pushing the 'Save Water' line for a while. I started a while ago. I started timing my shower and I was horrified that it was over four minutes. So, I turning it off in between, soap up, turn off,

shaving legs, turned off, kids are freezing, going, "Mum, turn it back on," and I'm like, "No, it's the water." What else? OK, then I...if it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down. That's very interesting. Now before we go, I just want to get... there are so many things from tonight that could capture your imagination and so many little pathways we could go down. One thing from tonight that's really made you think, that's really opened your eyes, Chris? I think from an agricultural point of view, we've got a double-whammy problem. Obviously, we've got to be sustainable from a water point of view, but we're also competing with everything else in terms of our return per use of water. So, for example, if you take the mining industry, their return per cubic metre of water is about $80. Industry is about $40, agriculture is $5. So, therefore things that will actually do a double-whammy

of saving water or using of waste water, and in addition to that, adding some fertiliser value, or improving mineral content or something, that's got to be something that's going to help us in agriculture. And I just hope that's going to work. Bernie? One thing you should definitely do is when you're buying your white goods, your washing machine and your dishwasher, get the top-of-the-range because they'll have the best water efficiency, and they'll also last the longest time. So, not only do you use less water every time you wash, but less water in replacing it in 20 years instead of 10. Sally? I think what Bernie said is really interesting because there's just recently been a UN report which says, that effective building design and energy use in buildings can be far more effective in tackling global warming than all the emission controls that are being proposed. So, I think the way forward is for us to adapt what we've got and make sure when we build afresh, we practise what we preach and we build what we want so that we can really make a difference. Thank you for your time, thank you to all our guests. Big round of applause. And before we go, please spare a thought for all those inventors out there spending their own time and money trying to overcome all sorts of obstacles to bring you inventions that are going to help us solve this problem. And maybe you've even picked up something you can do tonight. And if you haven't, well, there's heaps more water-saving info on our website. Let's end with a 2,000-year-old quote from a Roman playwright. Titus Plautus said this:

It is a wretched business to be digging a well just as thirst is mastering you. Goodnight. If you're young and inventive, there's a special award for you on The New Inventors. Firstly, you've got to be 18 or younger, secondly, you've got to invent something and thirdly, you need to apply to come on the show. If you and your invention are chosen to appear on the show, you'll be in the running to win the Bright Spark award. Details, go to our website.