Showing posts with label Clarence Valley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clarence Valley. Show all posts

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Clarence Valley CWA branches doing their bit for firefighterd & bushfire victims


Grafton & South Grafton CWA branches are cooking for the firegrounds.

Clarence Valley Independent, 4 December 2019



The Maclean branch of the CWA has been busy sewing mittens and pouches for wildlife injured in the bushfires, using pure cotton and woollen materials donated by Clarence Valley residents.

Food Care at Good Intent Shopping Centre on Armidale Rd, South Grafton, which sells low cost food to those that need it, is also offering free of charge brand new clothing to fire victims. The store is open Wednesday, Thursday & Friday from 9am to 1pm.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Clarence Valley kids raise $7,000 in a day for the 'firies' and Angourie village residents raised $15,950 to give to their local bushfire brigade


The Daily Examiner, 16 November 2019, p.6:

For some of the 3000 students at 15 local public schools, the best way they could help local Rural Fire Service units was to mix up their socks. 

Or even paint their hair pink. While it’s not your usual method, the students banded together yesterday in a little bit of crazy dress to raise more than $7000. 

Students were encouraged to dress up, and give a gold coin donation to go towards local units who have been busy defending our communities from recent bushfires. 

Grafton High School SRC organisers Carmen Dundon and Natasha Clausen said they wanted to do something to give the crews some respite. 

“Quite often the RFS has to go back out after fighting fires and fundraise just to support themselves, so we thought we’d help them out,” Ms Clausen said. 

Initially organised between Grafton High and Grafton Public, word soon spread of the idea, and 15 schools participated with more than 3000 students taking part. 

“It grew way more than what we thought it would,” Ms Dundon said. “But everyone knows someone who has been affected, and it’s great to see the community come together.” 

Grafton High School principal Peter South said that it was an amazing effort from the students. 

“You can see the kids very much care and feel for other kids and understand how important the RFS is in keeping people safe,” he said.

“There was no hesitation, all the schools just jumped to be part of it.” 

Mr South said many local schools had already been feeding and clothing children affected by the fires, with school communities at Baryulgil and Nymboida in classrooms at Grafton Public while their schools were closed.

“Everyone has been doing their bit to chip in,” he said.

The Daily Examiner, 16 November 2019, p.7:

Angourie residents have raised almost $16,000 for the Wooloweyah bushfire brigade to say thank you for recent efforts. 

Rapturous applause was given to the Wooloweyah Fire Brigade and NSW Rural Fires Services at Angourie as the community rallied to raise $15,950 in response to their tireless efforts during the Shark Creek bushfire. 

The recent bushfire came perilously close to the village of Angourie and Angourie Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc president Grant Jennings thanked the fireys on behalf of everyone in the seaside town.

Expressing the sentiment of the community, one resident said they were grateful to the Wooloweyah RFS and other locals who “did such a gallant job protecting our houses in Angourie”. 

Mark Evans, from Wooloweyah Fire Brigade, said the money would go towards essential firefighting equipment.

The Daily Examiner, 16 November 2019, p.7: 

The biggest cheer to come from the Nymboida residents’ meeting came after local RFS captain Paul Johnston addressed the gathering. 

But Mr Johnston said the whole community deserved the praise. “It was the way everyone worked together that got us through this,” he said. 

“People like the ‘scratch brigade’ who worked so hard over the weekend, after the fire went through, going around making things safe, took so much pressure off us.” 

Mr Johnston said half a dozen or more residents had attached tanks and pumps to the back of utes and trucks and ridden around the village, dousing pockets of fire. 

“They were our unofficial support brigade and allowed us to concentrate on the fire front,” he said. 

He said the size and speed of the fire as it hit Nymboida made it impossible to halt. 

“We could not have stopped that fire with 100 trucks,” he told the meeting. 

He was not sure how many units were working on Friday night, but he estimated at least 20.....

Readers, you too can show your appreciation of the NSW Rural Fire Service by donating directly to your local fire brigade or by going to: 

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer/support-your-local-brigade

You can also make a bank deposit to NSW RFS:

Account Name: NSW Rural Fire Service
Bank: Westpac BSB: 032-001 Account No: 171051


Queenslanders wishing to support their own rural fire services can donate at:

 https://www.rfbaq.org/donate-to-rfbaq


Friday, 8 November 2019

Clarence Catchment Alliance is hosting a petition opposing water diversion from Clarence River catchment & mining in the upper river


The Daily Examiner, 31 October 2019, p. 9:

In 2017 I solo kayaked the Clarence River from its source near Stanthorpe in the Great Dividing Range to where it empties into the sea of my lifelong home at Yamba. A couple of months ago I tried to do it again, and I couldn’t. It won’t surprise you to hear, that there’s just no water in the river.
Around the same time I learned there were 18 exploratory mining licences active in our headwaters and that drilling quietly begun some 18 months ago.
I also learned that there was at least one serious environmental breach of one of these licences, resulting in a stop work order and a $300,000 fine.
I also learned that talks of damming our headwaters had been revived by western municipalities. When I heard these things, I wanted to find out more.
I caught up with my childhood friend and lifelong valley local, ex world championship tour surfer turned high-performance coach and Patagonia ambassador Daniel Ross, and together we set out to learn more about these potential threats to our home.
We went on a journey upriver to the source of the Clarence, all around the proposed mining areas, speaking to indigenous Elders and locals all along the river, to see these issues through their eyes.
We learned of the fish kills associated with mining from the old copper mine at Cangai, how the Eastern Cod (which only exists in two places in the world - the Clarence and Richmond River catchments) was nearly completely wiped out by these practices. We learned how it was nursed back from the brink to enjoying a thriving population today, and we struggled to understand why consideration would be given to returning to these practices on an even broader scale. We perceived first-hand the proximity of these sites, on these incredibly steep ridge lines, angling down to the river and its tributaries, and failed to comprehend how mining could possibly be achieved safely.
The more we learn, the keener we are to understand the future plans for our valley, and the safest and best solutions for its strategic management so its splendours can be enjoyed for generations to come.
We are strongly of the heart that the risks from mining along the Clarence, the lifeblood of our valley, are too impossibly high to take, and that these risks cannot fit the profile of a healthy future.
If you agree, the Clarence Catchment Alliance is hosting a petition that our State MP Chris Gulaptis has said he will table in parliament if 10,000 signatures are garnered. The petition is available to sign in local businesses all across the Valley, or available online to download, print, sign, and return to the address on the petition.
Dan Ross and Hayley Talbot
Image: Clarence Valley Independent

Clarence Independent
, 25 September 2019:
Dan Ross and Hayley Talbot are amid producing a documentary about the Clarence River – towards that end they have already interviewed Toowoomba’s mayor, Paul Antonio, who is also the chair of the Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors, which has applied to Infrastructure Australia to pipe water from the Clarence River “to Tenterfield Shire Council and Southern Downs, Western Downs and Toowoomba Regional councils”. Mr Ross and Ms Talbot gave a talk about the significance of Clarence River, maintaining its health and “how it affects all of us from the headwaters to the mouth”. “It’s not a ‘green’ thing, it’s commonsense,” Ms Talbot told those gathered at the Valley Watch tent at the Yamba River Market on Sunday, “sharing knowledge and getting the message out there.” 
Clarence Catchment Alliance’s Facebook page at  

Thursday, 17 October 2019

The real reasons behind the push to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment


Whenever local government areas within the Murray-Darling Basin decide to renew their almost perpetual lobbying of federal and state governments for consent to dam and divert one or more rivers within the Clarence River catchment they usually have a hidden agenda accompanying their public call for fresh water for inland towns during times of water scarcity.
It has never been about needing water for towns which might run out of water by late 2020. Any new dam couldn’t even be ‘shovel ready’ in less than two to three years, while rushing construction would take a similar time period to complete and filling a dam would take more than three years on top of that – if it could be achieved at all in an Australian climate which has been drying for the last sixty years.
What these councils are really seeking is the means to grow their own local businesses and expand their own regional economies at the expense of Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City current and future businesses and regional economies.
One of the mayors openly states that “water is the new currency” - echoing that other sentiment doing the rounds, ‘water is the new gold’.
Take these latest water raiding schemes……….
1. MARYLAND RIVER DAM AND DIVERSION SCHEME FOR THE BENEFIT OF ONE NSW AND THREE QLD LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS
According to Daily News in Warwick Qld, Southern Downs Council has a wish list for growth; Councillor Marika McNichol said the council had a wish list of significant infrastructure projects that would shape, steer and secure the region’s future.“This is an ambitious list of projects, but also a list of essential infrastructure projects that will benefit our region and build a sustainable future for the Southern Downs,” Cr McNichol said.“Council has a strong long-term vision for the region which involves major infrastructure projects.”
On its own website this council stated; “Southern Downs Regional Mayor, Tracy Dobie said a number of exciting projects in the Southern Downs were due to commence or be completed, creating employment opportunities, encouraging population growth and stimulating strong economic activity,”
One of those proposed major infrastructure projects to allow economic expansion in this particular local government areas is a “Pipeline diversion of water from the Clarence River in NSW to Tenterfield, Southern Downs, Western Downs and Toowoomba”. This proposal is being submitted to Infrastruture Australia seeking funding to progress the interbasin-interstate water transfer scheme.

Access to water is seen as a key economic driver by Western Downs Regional Council. This includes being a driver of industry and business development as well as optimising tourism growth in the local government area.

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio told a journalist that; water is the limiting factor in population growth and food production in this area”. His letter of support for the application to Infrastructure Australia for a dam in the Clarence River catchment reads in part; As chair of Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors … I write to give the strongest of support to your council’s submission to the Australian Infrastructure Audit regarding long-term water security on the Darling Downs and NSW Border Ranges.”

Tenterfield Shire Council’s mayor told The Daily Examiner in Grafton NSW; “I have no problem supporting populations to support industry, but you cannot do it without infrastructure to secure water. These towns need to be supported, and especially where they are looking to expand. (Towns like) Warwick and Toowoomba should have had adequate water supply years ago and now we are playing catch up.” [my yellow highlighting]

Tenterfield Shire Council as part of the Northern New England High Country Regional Economic Development Strategy 2018-2022 supports the position that; “There is potential to dam both the Mole River in the western part of the Region and possibly one or more of the headwater tributaries of the Clarence River for irrigation water and the generation of hydroelectricity.”

Tenterfield’s Mole River proposal was tentatively costed sometime in the 1990s on the basis that private capital would build this dam and lease it back to either local or state government. The current proposal for a Mole River dam (20-40 per cent smaller than the original proposed water storage) is an initial 50/50 split between state and federal government.

2. ABERFOYLE RIVER DAM AND DIVERSION SCHEME TO BENEFIT GWYDIR SHIRE COUNCIL, GWYDIR RIVER AND COPETON DAM, NSW

The NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government’s State Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2038 points to a need to Identify investment options in the priority catchments of Gwydir and Macquarie”.

Gwydir Shire Council in its Gwydir Shire Economic Development Strategy 2017-2020 states an aim to; Manage water resources for a growing economy and environmental sustainability” as well as to improve/expand the Shire’s product base which includes the tourism potential of the Gwydir River and Copeton Dam.

The river and dam are seen as part of providing a Strong basis for growing the tourism sector and building visitation to the Shire’s towns and villages” - as well as being seen as “lifestyle advantages of the Shire.”

The development strategy also sees “access to plentiful water” as a prerequisite to growing local businesses and establishing new ones.

Seeing water as a mere commodity these Murray-Darling Basin councils and the federal government are pressuring the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government to such a degree that it is now considering altering planning and water legislation to allow NSW Water to have planning control over dam building and also allowing environmental safeguards to be overridden – in particular removing environmental/biodiversity assessments of proposed dam sites and potentially commencing construction before a cost-benefit analysis has been completed.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Grafton experienced more hot days in past 30 years



Grafton's average monthly rainfall 1959 to 2018:



Grafton's average water balance after the evaporation rate is accounted for:

Graphs from http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/climate-guides/

It should be noted that longterm averages are a crude measurement tool and do not always reflect conditions experienced in specific years.


Tuesday, 1 October 2019

A reminder of some of the times Clarence Valley communities said 'No' to Murray-Darling Basin water raiders in the last 80 years


Queensland Times (Ipswich Qld), 13 May 1947:


Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, 13 March 1950:


Warwick Daily News (Qld), 11  January 1952:


Images from Trove, retrieved 28 September 2019


26 September 1969:

CANBERRA, Thurs. — A $400 million scheme to divert the surplus waters of the Clarence River into the Darling was submitted to the Commonwealth to-day.

Cost of the scheme, to be met primarily by the Commonwealth, would be spread over 30 years.

A deputation of eight members of the Barwon-Darling Water Association submitted the plan to the Minister for National Development, Mr. David Fairbairn.

Almost on par with the great Snowy Mountain hydro-electric scheme, it envisages:

A multi-million increase in wool production.

A vast outback development in decentralisation.

Attraction of many thousands of farmers to the west.

Substantial increase in storage capacity of the Darling.

Additional houses, schools and industry “out west.”

Overall revitalisation of farming and grazing development.

27 September 1969:

Local Needs Before Diversion Of Water

The diversion of surplus waters of the Clarence River to the west should only be considered after a thorough investigation of the potential for development and the water requirements of our own valley have been ascertained.”

The Mayor of Grafton and chairman of the Clarence River (Flood Mitigation) County Council, Ald. N. G. Weiley, made this comment last night.

Clarence Environment Centre, June 2007:

Let the rivers run to the sea

The notion of diverting water from the Clarence River catchment to other parts of Australia surfaces every few years. It usually gets dismissed as the hare-brained scheme of some mad old engineer or outback dinosaur mayor.

This time it feels different. A combination of factors – badly-planned urban growth in southeast Queensland, the upcoming Federal election and the drought– have led to the Clarence coming under the cold and acquisitive eye of the Federal government and its engineers.

Minister for Environment and Water Resources Malcolm Turnbull commissioned the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation to do a ‘short term desk-top review on the identification and definition of issues associated with improving urban water supply security in South East Queensland and North East New South Wales by accessing water from the Northern Rivers of NSW.’ 

Bumper sticker from the successfu 2007 'Not A Drop' campaign against damming and diverting Clarence River catchment water:



The Northern Star, 14 February 2013:

"HOW dare they even mention the words dam or diversion."
That was the reaction of Page MP Janelle Saffin on Thursday to the news the Coalition was considering building dams and a weir on the Clarence and Mann rivers.
Water from the dams and the weir would be piped to the Logan River in Queensland.
A leaked draft Coalition policy discussion paper obtained by News Limited contained proposals to build up to 100 dams across Australia.
The idea to divert water from the Clarence has been kicked around for decades but has always met with fierce opposition.
Ms Saffin said she was "disturbed but not surprised" by the report.
"The federal Liberal and National parties still have their eyes on the Clarence," Ms Saffin told APN Newsdesk.
"They talk a lot about diverting rivers, about damming without any consultation whatsoever with local communities, local councils.
"It's fanciful to think you can talk about damming or diverting the Clarence. You can't."
Ms Saffin predicted the issue of damming or diverting water from the Clarence Valley would become an election issue, just as it was in 2007 when Malcolm Turnbull was water minister.
She referred to The Daily Examiner's successful Not A Drop campaign and said the community sentiment remained six years on.
"It still exists and in fact it would be stronger. With the issues swirling around with CSG and water there's even more of a strong feeling in the community about 'don't touch our water'," she said.
"To even hear a hint the Federal Coalition ... would go near the Clarence is enough to scare people."
Ms Saffin did concede each dam proposal should be treated on its merits, but said it was not an option for the Clarence.
As if sensing the political damage the leaking of the report might do to his chances of wresting Page from Ms Saffin, Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan issued a statement "categorically ruling out" the damming of the Clarence or Mann rivers.......
The Daily Examiner via Press Reader, 19 May 2018:

Monday, 30 September 2019

Water raiders drop the pretence and go for source of Clarence Valley's drinking water


Having degraded their own rivers and failed to adequately plan their own water security for times of drought, local governments in the Murray-Darling Basin are calling for damming and diversion of water from the Northern NSW Clarence River system.

Thus far the Maryland River and the Aberfoyle River have been identified as desirable options by these wannabee water raiders. 

This is the Clarence River Catchment.
via Blicks River Guardians

The Aberfolye River is shown in the left hand lower curve of the catchment boundary.

The river is approximately 115km in length with an annual average water flow of 19,482 ML.

The Aberfoyle River* empties into the Guy Fawkes River which in turn runs into the Boyd River which is a tributary of the Nymbodia River which itself is the greatest contributor of water to the Clarence River system and the source of at least 95 per cent of Clarence Valley drinking water.

The Nymboida River is also the source for water storage held in the 30,000Ml Shannon Creek side dam which supplies water security for a combined total of 128,198 residents (as well as local businesses and over 5 million tourists annually) in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City local government areas.

Ten years ago the Nymboida was supplying water for a population of 95,000 - in forty years time it is conservatively expected to supply 220,000.


This proposal appears to be based on one of fourteen Clarence River diversion schemes 'desktop' investigated in the early 1980s - specifically a proposed dam on the Aberfoyle diverting water to either Happy Valley, Boorolong or Teatree creeks to feed the Gwydir River, or alternatively an Aberfoyle dam to feed the Gara River. 

Drawing more water from the Upper Nymboida sub-catchment will in all probability raise hydrological and environmental stress on the entire Nymboida River and, may result in water levels at the Nymboida Weir falling below the 225Ml/D low flow level pumping cutoff up to est. 80 per cent of the time.

At the time of writing the Nymboida flow was 200Ml/D.

Indeed, given that rainfall decline has been occurring in the Northern Rivers region for around five decades, any further decline in available river water to supply daily use and long-term water storage has the potential to see intractable water scarcity develop in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City local government areas, as well as a sharp decline in the health of the Nymboida River.

The rest of eastern Australia needs to realise that the Clarence River system is not filled to the brim with harvestable water. The 500,000,000Ml of water annually discharging into the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Clarence River was a myth from the first time it was calculated.

Even Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City councils will have to curb their desire for continuous development, as they probably have less than twenty years of water security remaining even if the wall of Shannon Creek Dam were to be raised.

Since the Millennium Drought Clarence Valley households have been on permanent low level water use restrictions as a precautionary measure, but as this current drought** may indicate that severe drought is no longer an anomaly but an everyday fact of life, we may be facing a higher level of permanent water restrictions very soon. 

Note

The Devils Chimney in the Aberfoyle River gorge was declared an Aboriginal Place on 8 August 1980. It is protected under under Section 90 of the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Act 1974 and can not be damaged, defaced or destroyed without the consent of the NPW Director-General. Unfortunately the NSW Berejiklian Government does allow for damage and destruction of such sites.

** The NSW DPI Clarence Valley Drought Map as of 24 September 2019:

CDI = Combined Drought Indicator. RI = Rainfall Index. SWI = Soil Water Index. PGI = Pasture Growth Index. DDI = Drought Direction Index
Data current to 24/9/2019 (AEST)