Over the years there has been a resistance to building a dam on the Clarence River – “Not One Drop – The Mighty Clarence”. This seems to be irrational and a case of NFromMBY. It’s not as though we use very much of the water. According to government figures < 1% of the water is being used with the other 99% going out to sea. And the new Shannon Creek Dam will provide our domestic water if necessary. So why should we reconsider? There have been two major floods in two years, (and there will be more). These have caused considerable hardship, disruption and cost in the valley and to the state’s transportation corridors. Current articles talk about the cane farmers being adversely affected for up to two years; prawn stocks being washed out to sea; fish kills due to deoxygenation; river events being cancelled; major infrastructure damage or destruction; people and trucks stranded for days; health alerts; sugar and fishing jobs threatened… Maybe it should be called “The Mighty Destructive Clarence”. We need a dam that can be used for flood mitigation, (which does not mean flood prevention) and provide water to the Murray Darling Basin. It would also provide a great fresh water recreation area for the Clarence Valley.
A plan put forward by the late Professor Lance Endersbee included five dams and multiple pipelines. A mini-Snowy Mountains scheme is not needed. The fallacy of his scheme is that lots of water needs to be stored. It doesn’t, because of the Clarence’s large catchment and the generally reliable, high rainfall. It needs only one dam on the eastern side of the range that would provide mitigation and MDB water.
The dam would be built after the major tributaries, such as the Timbarra and the Nymboida/Mann flowed into the Clarence. The best site for the dam would be in the Clarence River Gorge. From this dam the water would be pumped over the Great Divide, to a holding dam that would then release water into the Severn River and the existing Pindari Dam. From there it would flow through the Macintyre-Dumaresq-Barwon Rivers, and into the Darling. The 80km pipeline would be a straightforward project compared to say the Trans Alaska Pipeline, which I worked on for a number of years.
It is a dam that would be beneficial for the Clarence Valley and our inland neighbours, who provide much of the food WE eat and who will again, be subject to long, severe droughts. If the Mighty Clarence can’t offer a parched neighbour “ONE drop”, it does not deserve to be called mighty. The dam should not be damned. It deserves to be discussed in a no-parochial, unemotional manner. I would be happy to provide more information, to any interested parties.
[The Clarence Valley Review, letter to the Editor,9 February 2011]
* Mr. Ibbotson describes himself variously as Metallurgist, Systems Analyst, Photographer, Author. His submission to Federal Paliament Water Proofing the Murray-Darling Basin contains the same arguments as those in his letter. Ibbotson is something of a conspiracy theorist and anthropomorphic global warming denialist.
Worth thinking about
I found it a pleasure to read John Ibbotson’s easily understood and emotionally unbiased letter (CVR 9/2/11) on that perennial question that is too much of a hotcake for any local politician to pick up on.
Personally I agree with Mr. Ibbotson’s opinion.I further offer the following. Having studied a rather crude topographical map, a dam at the Gorge would probably require a construction and service road from Summerland Way to the site which in turn would require a second bridge across the Clarence River.
Worth thinking about?
And certainly worth further discussion
Thomas Macindoe *
[The Clarence Valley Review, letter to the Editor, 23 February 2011]
* Mr. Macindoe is one of the Clarence Valley’s resident contrarians who in retirement will often take contradictory positions on given issues providing his stance runs counter to either expert opinion or public sentiment. One of his most endearing traits is his predictability.