Showing posts with label dam & divert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dam & divert. Show all posts

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Water raiders show their ignorance and reveal the true motive for wanting to dam & divert water from the Clarence River


There are four councils currently calling for the diversion of water from the Clarence River system - Tenterfield Shire Council (NSW), Toowoomba Regional Council (Qld), Southern Downs Regional Council (Qld) and Western Downs Regional Council (Qld).

These local government areas have a combined population of est. 236,984 people.

Here is the aptly named Peter Petty from Tenterfield demonstrating his ignorance about the hydrological processes at work along the more than 380km length of this coastal river. 

He seems to forget there are irrigators already drawing water from the Maryland River, one of the main tributaries of the Clarence River where it rises at Rivertree, NSW and he appears to naively believe that harvesting between 20,00 to 30,000 megalitres from the total unallocated annual flow of 36,839 megalitres would have no effect on the Upper Clarence.

Even if the proposed dam capacity was only 21,000 megalitres that is equivalent to approximately 57 per cent of the average annual unallocated water flowing from this tributary into the Clarence River.

Mr. Petty is likely one of the people supporting an application to Infrastructure Australia to fund this large dam on the Maryland River, in order to pump pipe water over 45 kms as the crow flies into a region in Queensland which is quite capable of building water infrastructure within southern Queensland to meet the needs of its own population.

Just as the last time councils in the Murray-Darling Basin made a concerted effort to raid the Clarence River catchment when the hidden agenda was obtaining someone else's water to expand their own urban footprint and/or grow their own local economies, Mr. Petty let slip a similar hidden motive this time.

It's not about water to relieve current drought conditions because a project such as these councils are suggesting takes years to bring to fruition and will do nothing to ease current water shortages.

No, it's about conning the Federal, New South Wales and Queensland governments into backing infrastructure which will enable this blatant water theft because "they are looking to expand"

The Daily Examiner, 5 September 2019, p.3, excerpt: 

On the issue of building a dam on the Maryborough River, Tenterfield Mayor Peter Petty said he was not concerned about the effect on the lower Clarence because of the small percentage of water being redirected. 

“With the research and everything that has been done up here, we are talking less than 1per cent,” he said. 

Cr Petty said the water issues regional councils faced now were in part due to a reluctance from governments to invest in water infrastructure. He said if people were serious about decentralisation, then more needed to be done to shore up water supplies. 

“We used to lead the world but there has been nothing done for 40 years,” he said. “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.”

Monday, 9 September 2019

Let’s keep Queensland water raiders proposed Kia Ora Dam and pipeline a figment of their fevered imagination


If ever their was an example of a shared delusional disorder it is the belief that the Clarence River system has spare capacity to sustainably water share with the Murray-Darling Basin......

The Chronicle, 4 September 2019, p.16, excerpt: 


Southern Downs: The Southern Downs Regional Council has endorsed and will submit to Infrastructure Australia a list of five key infrastructure projects which support the future infrastructure challenges and opportunities facing the Southern Downs. 

The council resolved at the August general meeting to submit the following projects for consideration: 

Pipeline diversion of water from the Clarence River in NSW to Tenterfield, Southern Downs, Western Downs and Toowoomba...... [my yellow highlighting]


The Chronicle, 3 September 2019, p.5, excerpt: 

It comes as the council [Toowoomba Regional Council] starts confidential discussions around long-term water strategies, which could include new pipelines from northern New South Wales or even a new dam within the region. 

Water and waste chair Cr Nancy Sommerfield said she had been in constant discussions with Water Resources Minister David Littleproud about a new pipeline from the Clarence River in NSW. 

“The Clarence River is something I’m looking to talk about – there’s been a lot of work done on that, and I’m going to Canberra to speak with the minister soon,” she said. 

“I really do like the idea of getting water from the Clarence, because it also solves issues for the Southern Downs.”  [my yellow highlighting]


The Daily Examiner, letter to the editor, 4 September 2019:
Let’s keep Kia Ora Dam a figment of imagination
It comes as no surprise that all four councils currently calling for the damming and diversion of water from the Clarence River system at Maryland River are themselves part of the Murray-Darling Basin group of councils.
It also comes as no surprise that three of these councils are in southern Queensland.
Just like Clarence Valley Council and its predecessors, these four councils have known for decades that they faced a future where diminishing regional water resources and increasing demand would make reliable water supply an issue for local governments.

However, unlike Clarence Valley Council and its local communities, these councils did not attempt to future proof their water supplies until it became a matter of urgency for their own communities.

One could almost feel sorry for them until one realises that at least one of the Queensland councils has started to explore new dam and pipeline options in its own backyard.
So why this push to dam and divert water from the Clarence River system? Well, it seems the best option in the Southern Downs region is considered way too expensive by the council there.
One has to suspect that some bright spark on this council decided that if all three Queensland councils joined forces and included a NSW council for good measure they could get Commonwealth and NSW state funding for a dam twice the size with minimum cost to their own coffers.
In 2017 Southern Downs Regional Council even published the name of this proposed 20,000-30,000 megalitre dam to be sited in the Upper Clarence catchment – it’s called the “Kia Ora” dam.
To date these wannabee water raiders have apparently not even undertaken an up-to-date desktop study on the feasibility of this dam and pipeline proposal.
Yet still they call for a dam which has the potential to reduce the Maryland River below the dam wall to a trickle even after it recovers from the present drought, and the potential to place the Upper Clarence water supply and environmental water flows at greater risk.
It is interesting to note the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Emu Swamp Dam in southern Queensland mentions previous consideration of “Kia Ora” by Sinclair Knight Merz:
“The Kia Ora dam site on the Maryland River in NSW has been investigated (SKM 1997b, 2007c) but it is not considered to be a viable option. A preliminary analysis suggests that, at full development, the site might be able to provide the required water supplies.
However, more detailed yield assessments for other dam sites in the area have shown that these preliminary assessments have all over-estimated the available yield. It is likely that further work would demonstrate that even the indicated yield is not available.
This site also carries risks arising from the reliability of information that was available to be used in the assessment; the unknown foundations; the high dam wall; the unknown side-spillway foundations; cross-border water transfers and delays and costs arising from the inability of the SSC to use its legislated powers (eg for compulsory land acquisition) in NSW.”
It seems these four councils are not facing the reality of their situation as well as failing to recognise that the Clarence Valley already shares water with a much larger regional population to the south of its own borders and cannot safely increase its water sharing arrangements.
Judith M Melville,Yamba
The Daily Examiner, 3 September 2019, p.11: 


OUR SAY 
BILL NORTH Editor 

For communities such as Tenterfield Shire, whose very survival is quite possibly on the brink without a long-term water plan, tapping into nearby available resources could be what is required to keep crops in the ground and families from moving away. 

The difference between life and death. For the Toowoomba, Western Downs and Southern Downs councils in the northeastern pocket of the failing Murray-Darling Basin, growing populations coupled with water scarcity is a worrying conundrum. 

The headwaters of the Condamine River, which forms part of Australia’s longest river system with the Murray and Darling rivers, rise on Mt Superbus east of Warwick. Less than 50km away as the crow flies is the proposed Maryland Dam site on the Clarence River earmarked by the mayors of those four council areas as top priority in a list of projects to be presented to Infrastructure Australia. 

But as one reader exclaimed when they told me they saw the plans on Southern Downs Regional Council’s Facebook page yesterday morning: “You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s like going to the bank and saying ‘We’re going to rob your bank, watch out’.” 

Any plan to divert water from one system to another leaves a deficit – environmental and economic – where it came from in the first place. 

The Daily Examiner, letter to the editor, 3 September 2019, p.11, excerpt: 

Pipe Dream 

 I have just read this article with great concern and I hope Mayor Simmons and CVC are not waiting for these other councils to get in touch with them before they do something about their proposal to divert our precious Clarence River. 

No offence, but I think this decision is above your tier of government, so I would strongly advise that you take a more proactive stance on this issue. 

We have seen already the damage done by misguided water allocations in the past, (think Murray-Darling as an obvious example), probably half the reason these electorates are running out of water. 

 As I’m sure you are aware, we are in the midst of a severe drought, so this apparently small percentage of fresh water that we take out of the Clarence catchment would in real terms be most of the water currently going in, leaving very little to actually continue on to the sea. What a lot of people fail to realise is the Clarence is tidal to above Grafton. 

This excess fresh water, that we apparently have, mixes with salt water from the Pacific Ocean to form what is known as brackish water and is responsible for its own, very diverse, lifeforms. Ribbon grass, other plants, fish and a great deal of other lifeforms rely on this brackish water. It also carries sediment and nutrients vital to the bottom end of the river and the ocean to sustain life the whole way down.......

As a 55-year-old, third-generation born and bred Clarence Valley local, a surfer, fisherman and son of a professional fisherman, I have had a great love and association with the Clarence and the ocean and would hate to see it destroyed by narrow-minded bureaucrats. 

It would be nice to think it will continue in its present form for my children and theirs. 

Leigh Johnson, Tullymorgan

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

A proposal to dam the headwaters of the Clarence River would be a “bloody disaster”, says a grazier whose family has lived on the river since 1880


Freshwater section of the Clarence River
Photo: The Daily Examiner, 31 August 2019
The Daily Examiner, 31 August 2019, p.1: 

A proposal to dam the headwaters of the Clarence River would be a “bloody disaster”, says a grazier whose family has lived on the river since 1880. Trevor Wingfield said the flow in the river at his property at Fine Flower was the worst he had seen since the 1990-94 drought. 

“I can drive across the river on my motorbike and the water doesn’t even cover the tyres on the bike,” he said. 

“The ABC came out to shoot some footage to use on the Country Hour and I was able to ride my motorbike along the river and barely wet the wheels. 

“Normally there would be three to four foot of water in the river at this time of the year.” Mr Wingfield rates the current water flows as worse than the 1990s drought. 

“It took from 1990 to ’94 for the flows in the river to get so low. This time it’s only been about 14 months.” 

He said taking any water out of the system during drought times would be disastrous and farmers along the Clarence would fight it. 

“If they try anything, they’ve got a big fight on their hands,” he said. “I’ve got a heap of women from around here behind me and they’re not going to take a backward step. 

“I call this my river. I was reared on it and my family has seen all that’s happened on it since the 1880s. 

“The Aboriginals told my grandparents things about this river no-one knows now. There’s nothing anyone can tell me about the Clarence River.” 

Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons was also adamant no water would be leaving the Clarence for a long time. 

Cr Simmons said not one of the Southern Downs, Toowoomba, Western Downs and Tenterfield Shire councils had contacted the Clarence Valley about a proposal to pipe water inland from the Clarence headwaters. 

“It’s a little surprising they’ve gone so far down the track without involving us,” Cr Simmons said. 

“Neither State Government has contacted us either.” 

He said the council would defend the region against any attempts to take water out of the Clarence catchment. 

“The attitude here is pretty strongly against it and if there was to be any change in policy we would have to thoroughly consult the community,” he said. 

Cr Simmons said people who saw the tidal reaches of the Clarence River at Grafton or in the Lower Clarence would have a different view if they saw it north of Copmanhurst. 

“They would see some pretty shallow flows in the river,” he said. 

He said the Clarence Valley’s water supply came from the Nymboida River and the Shannon Creek Dam, which supplies water to the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour. 

Cr Simmons said the Valley was now enjoying the benefits of planning for the future, which other areas perhaps needed to emulate. 

“The problem for these councils is this plan won’t help them now,” Cr Simmons said. 

“The lead time in consultation and planning, plus the construction of the infrastructure that would include water-conveying infrastructure as well as any dams will take a long time.” 

Cr Simmons said the Clarence catchment would need all the water unless there was good rain soon. 

“We were out opening a bridge on the Old Glen Innes Rd recently and I saw the creek bed was completely dry,” he said. “We might not be in a position to be giving up any of our water pretty soon.” 

The man who kicked off the Not ADrop campaign to keep the Clarence River flowing, former Daily Examiner editor Peter Ellem, said his position has not changed since those days. 

Mr Ellem, a Clarence Valley councillor, said he preferred to leave commentary on the latest developments to the Mayor, but was on record opposing any river diversion proposals. 

The Clarence Valley’s drinking water supplies look good for now, with the Nymboida River flow of 236 ML/day feeding consumption of 18.17 ML/day.

The Shannon Creek Dam is at 97 per cent capacity. 

The Daily Examiner, 31 August 2019, p.18: 

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK 
BILL NORTH Editor 

Take your gloves off and dig your heels into the muddy (edit: crystal-clear rocky) banks of the Clarence. 

We’re going in for round two of the Not a Drop: Keep the Clarence Mighty campaign and this one could be an epic battle for the ages. 

Views on how best to manage water vary greatly depending on whether you watch sunrises over sea or sunsets over dusty plains. 

Those inland dwellers living in the rain shadow of the Great Dividing Range and sparse expanses beyond are in the grips of despair, pondering ways to manufacture reliable water supplies to ensure their longevity. 

Southern Downs councillors voted in favour of submitting a project to divert water from the upper reaches of the Clarence River west as top priority in a list of significant projects to the Federal Government. 

They see a seven per cent water allocation with large volumes flowing out to sea as a waste. 

We know natural river flows are imperative to sustain fish stocks that drive our tourism industry in the upper and lower catchment, as well as commercial viability in the estuary. 

They perceive that piping water inland will have little impact on coastal communities while rescuing the economic viability of Australia’s food basket. 

We know a dam would have a disastrous impact on farmers living downstream in a Valley where primary production – which includes beef, sugar cane, aquaculture, prawn trawling, fishing, macadamias and blueberries – is worth almost $500 million to its annual economy. 

The Southern Downs region incorporates councils from Toowoomba, Western Downs and Southern Downs in Queensland as well as Tenterfield Shire in NSW and has “a major deficit in access to secure water supplies for urban consumption and for agriculture”, according to Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio. 

“New sources of water can include diversion from the headwaters of the Clarence River basin via the Maryland River,” Cr Antonio said. 

“Nothing short of a visionary, nation-building initiative led by the Commonwealth will solve this problem.” 

When the Darling Downs was last gripped in severe drought in 2006, then-editor of The Daily Examiner Peter Ellem deflected calls for water diversion in true Darryl Kerrigan fashion: “Tell ’em up there in Toowoomba they’re dreamin’,” he said at the time. 

This publication launched the Not a Drop: Keep the Clarence Mighty campaign and successfully resisted the federal push to investigate options.  
As droughts get harsher the waves of pressure inevitably become stronger and a government desperate to find solutions to combat the climate disaster may turn to drastic measures. 

If we have to go to war with the Federal Government again, the Clarence River could become little more than a red trickle after that bloodbath. 

As we’ve seen with Adani and other coal-mining projects in Queensland, not even the Great Barrier Reef – a World Heritage area with a tourism industry worth $6.4 billion a year – can stand in the way when this Government sets its mind to something. 

At a meet-the-candidates forum for the state election earlier this year, all five Clarence candidates stood firm against the idea of sharing our water. 

It’s that kind of solidarity that will be needed in the fight to keep our pristine waters unsullied. As the leading and most trusted local media source, we reach a greater audience in the Clarence Valley than anyone else and are your most effective mouthpiece. 

What do you think about ideas to divert water west? Or proposals to build dams, mines and ports in our river system? 

Join the debate, send an email to newsroom@dailyexaminer.com.au and have your say as we fight protect our most valuable asset: water.