Showing posts with label water raiders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label water raiders. Show all posts

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.

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)

Friday, 27 September 2019

If anything marks this NSW National Party politician out as a foolish man it is this......


Sometime between 23 and 24 September 2019 NSW Nationals MP for Clarence and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Roads and InfrastructureChris Gulaptis, told The Daily Examiner that those who want to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment for inter-basin and/or interstate transfer should raise the matter when the Clarence is in flood.

His exact words were; Let’s have that discussion when we’re in a flood”.

A statement which presumes that, with diminishing rainfall and increased evaporation rates being part of both the Clarence Valley's present and its future, drawing water for an additional 236,984 people, their farms and businesses is in anyway feasible even during a passing flood.

This water extraction would be on top of the current draw for the combined population of Clarence Valley LGA and Coff Habour City LGA - 128,198 people, their farms and businesses, as well as water for over 5 million tourists annually.

Indeed this entire article is typical Gulaptis, who more times than not has to be dragged metaphorically kicking and screaming to defend the Clarence Valley from the ignorance and avarice of a Coalition government of which he is a member.

The Daily Examiner, 25 September 2019, p.3:
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis has hit back at claims the government is secretly working on a plan to divert coastal rivers inland to drought-stricken rivers out west.
Mr Gulaptis’s comments come after The Guardian reported the NSW government was secretly exploring a plan to turn the state’s coastal rivers inland to provide more water for irrigators and towns in the west of the state.
According to The Guardian, WaterNSW documents obtained under freedom of information show significant work has been done recently on at least four projects involving pumping water from coastal rivers over the Great Dividing Range to replenish western rivers.
The Guardian said the main focus of work has been on turning the headwaters of the Clarence inland via a network of pipes and pumps into headwaters of the Border rivers.
Mr Gulaptis said he hasn’t heard of any plans being put into action.
My discussions with the water minister have been along the vein that they are outdated plans which are not a priority of the government,” he said.
It’s been on the books for a long period of time, and it gets rehashed every time there’s a drought.”
Mr Gulaptis said he would not support any such plans, especially due to the current vulnerability of the North Coast region.
The North Coast isn’t immune to drought – we’re in the grips of one of the worst droughts we’ve ever had and there isn’t any water for us to spare.”
Mr Gulaptis said he believes the plan is a “fanciful idea”.
Let’s have that discussion when we’re in a flood,” he said.
Despite Mr Gulaptis’s denial, The Guardian said the documents showed WaterNSW was discussing some projects with western irrigators last year and that it had commissioned hydrological analysis for some projects this year.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Good grief! Its 2002 meets 2007 in the Northern Rivers region during 2019


Clarence Valley Independent, letter to the Editor,11 September 2019:

Ed,
Good grief! Its 2002 meets 2007 in the Northern Rivers region right now.
This month we learned that there was an approx. 40 degree Celsius sudden warming in the upper atmosphere over Antarctica which will extend the current eastern Australia drought into the foreseeable future. With the Bureau of Meteorology stating that the last time a similar event occurred was in 2002 when the country experienced one of its driest years on record.
Readers might recall that 2002 was smack bang in the middle of the millennium drought. A drought which at one point saw the Orara River cease to run and at another, the Nymboida Weir unable to do more than supply two weeks of drinking water for the Clarence Valley before the pumps would no longer be able to draw any water up at all.
Last month we discovered that wannabee water raiders from the Murray-Darling Basin were back with another bid to divert water from the Clarence River system so that they could get a larger, less expensive dam built to order and, these four local councils – one in NSW and three in Queensland – can then undertake the intended expansion of their their urban and industry footprints.
Just as in 2007 they come at a time when the Clarence Valley is in drought and water flow in the upper reaches of the Clarence River is low, demanding we supply irrigation and drinking water – this time for an additional est. 236,984 people.
And just as in 2007 the media reports that at least one of the councils has already been talking with the federal Minister for Water Resources about their cross-border water diversion scheme and is pursuing a meeting in Canberra [The Chronicle, 3 September 2019, p.5 ].
The only difference between 2002, 2007 and 2019 is that the Clarence Valley acted on the lessons learnt between 1996 and 2010. Something Tenterfield, Toowoomba, Southern Downs and Western Downs failed to do.
Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City expanded their original water sharing arrangement by building the Shannon Creek Dam to future proof as much as is possible the water supply for a est. combined total population of 128,198 people.
Now these four Murray-Darling Basin councils want the Clarence River system to supply water for a new total combined population of 365,182 people.
I wonder if now is the time to remind those politicians who may be thinking of supporting this push to build a 20,000 to 30,000 megalitre dam and pipeline that, the last time an attempt was made to grab Clarence water willy nilly, Clarence Valley communities helped bring down a federal government.
Judith M. Melville, Yamba

Friday, 13 September 2019

Water raiders want Clarence Valley communities to be "grown-up" and just let them go ahead and degrade the upper Clarence River water flow


This was Toowooba Regional Council in 2018 and the Clarence Valley's response.......

The Daily Examiner, 24 April 2018

This is Toowoomba Regional Council in 2019......

The Chronicle, 10 September 2019:

TOOWOOMBA Mayor Paul Antonio has called on his New South Wales colleagues to be part of a “grown-up discussion” over long-term water strategies, including a pipeline from the Clarence River.
Cr Antonio’s comments come amid a push-back from the Grafton community over discussions to connect the bountiful Clarence system to struggling areas in the Southern and Western Downs to combat the effects of drought.
Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons said last week he was adamant no headwaters would be leaving the system in the near future, even as the multi-council water allocation plan collects speed.
But Cr Antonio said it was important that all options were explored to ensure the east coast of Australia was well-supplied.
“I think we’ve got to be grown up and have a discussion around that,” he said.
“The Maryland river system has a 21,000ML yield, would take a fraction of water from the Clarence, but make a profound difference.
“We need the state governments in Queensland and New South Wales to facilitate a conversation around water strategies, and I’m having some robust discussions with the mayor of Tenterfield (Peter Petty) at the moment about it.”
The council endorsed a motion early last year to investigate a pipeline from the Clarence River, and the Southern Downs Regional Council made a similar commitment late last week.
Cr Antonio said continuous consultations over water would become the reality for councils and state governments in the near future.
“Water is the new currency, water is the limiting factor in population growth and food production in this area and many other areas,” he said.
“Now is the time to reflect on where we are and put strategies in place and it will lift this nation and make it more productive.”

Clarence Valley Independent, 4 September 2019:

In a video on SDRC’s Facebook site, the [Southern Downs Regional Council] mayor says “we have letters of support from Toowoomba regional Council and Paul Antonio, mayor of Toowoomba, [who is] also the chair of the Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors”.
Mr Antonio said in his letter: “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.”
Mr Antonio referred to a “crisis meeting” held among each of the councils on May 16.
“It was agreed we will work together to spread resources through planning to interconnect our [water] supplies….” he writes.
“New sources of water can include diversion from the headwaters of the Clarence River basin, via the Maryland River, and access to recycled water from Brisbane.
“Both these options require major investment well beyond the means of the councils involved.
“They also will take a merging of political wills across all three levels of government.
“Nothing short of a visionary, nation-building initiative led by the Commonwealth will solve the problem.
This is a Clarence Valley resident's response in 2019.....

The Mayor of Toowoomba, Paul Antonio, claims to want "grown-up discussions" concerning a proposal to dam and divert Clarence River system water across the border into southern Queensland.

Yet strangely he has not been adult enough himself to notify Clarence Valley Council of this proposal or enter into dialogue with this council which represents the majority of people and communities living along the length of this NSW river system.

What Cr. Antonio also forgets or just chooses to ignore when touting his "nation building initiative" is that there in a legislated, carefully considered water sharing plan already in place - the Water Sharing Plan for the Clarence River Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources 2016.

This plan covers the Maryland River and specifies the limits to granting water access licences, as well as limits to the maximum amount of water which can be drawn off this river which is set out as 995 ML/yr.

It also specifies when extraction should cease due to low flows; "Water must not be taken when the height of the water in Maryland River passing through the culvert pipes over the Rivertree Road near the southern boundary of portion 33, Parish of Reid, County of Buller, is less than or equal to 50 mm."

The plan defines the constraints on harvestable water rights as those set out in Water Management Act 2000 - Sect 53 & 54. This state act blocks supplying "any other land" with water that has been captured by landholders on the Maryland River.

Additionally, the plan limits the water extraction licence pool to an upper limit of 990 share components.

This water sharing plan was not something that was created without "grown-up discussions". Because NSW stakeholders recognized that our rivers are markedly variable and there is significant competition for water (especially in dry times). So there had to be an evidence-based balance between the needs of users and the need for a sustainable environmental flow in this particular Clarence River tributary.

Because without a genuine environmental flow entering the Clarence River at the confluence of the Maryland and Clarence Rivers, the upper Clarence River would overtime become a degraded waterway.

Cr. Antonio is talking of building an in-river dam and, as the proposed amount of water to be held back from entering the Clarence River under this water raiding scheme is actually 55.5% of the average annual flow of the Maryland River and an est. 57% of its unallocated annual flow, it is hard to see how environmental flows below this proposed dam wall can be reliably met.

Especially given there are existing landholder water entitlements in the Rivertree region on which local farmers depend as they come to grips with changing rainfall patterns.

This Queensland local government councillor is yet to demonstrate that he has any understanding of the interconnective nature of hydrological processes at work along the more than 380 km length of the Clarence River from its headwaters to coastal estuary mouth.

Cr. Antonio appears to see the Clarence River system in terms of the potential for economic growth in his own region -  failing to see the very real aesthetic, cultural, social, environmental and economic values it holds for the people of the Clarence Valley.

He does not take into consideration that the Clarence River system already supplies the water needs of 128,198 residents in the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City local government areas and, that this river underpins two regional economies which together were worth an estimated $5.58 billion in 2018. [See Clarence Valley Council Economic Profile and Coffs Harbour City Council Economic Profile]

One might suspect that Cr. Antonio (who will presumably be seeking re-election in a little over five months) views this water diversion proposal solely through the narrow lens of his own political and personal financial ambitions.

Background

2. ABC News, 7 December 2018:

A southern Queensland Mayor has been fined nearly $15,000 after he was found to have engaged in misconduct in his dealings with the Melbourne-to-Brisbane Inland Railway project.
In an interview with the ABC in 2017, Councillor Paul Antonio, who owns a gravel quarry near Millmerran on the route chosen by the Federal Government, conceded he stood to benefit from the inland rail project.
The ABC revealed, Cr Antonio personally paid $4,900 to have an alternate route for the project investigated, which took the line to the very edge of his quarry.
Cr Antonio told the ABC he paid for the map to find an alternative that did not go through prime agricultural land in Millmerran, to help affected farmers.
After initially telling the ABC he gave the map only to one Millmerran farmer, he later conceded he provided the map to former industry minister Ian MacFarlane, who is now the chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council, and the Federal Member for Groom, John McVeigh.
The matter was referred to the Local Government Regional Conduct Review Panel in April 2018 after a complaint was made by a fellow councillor and a member of the public.
The panel decided the complaint of misconduct was sustained.....
Cr Antonio was fined $14.360.50, ordered to undergo counselling, make an admission of error, and apologise at the next council meeting.
The panel also recommended the Local Government Department's chief executive officer monitor Cr Antonio for compliance with the Local Government Act.....

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