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

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.....

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Northern NSW likely to remain in drought for the foreseeable future


With the Clarence Valley hinterland in drought and water in the upper reaches of the Clarence River system already low, the following article is not good news for valley communities.

Indeed if the comparison with 2002 holds, then there is a possibility that freshwater entering the tidal pool just below the Lilydale gauge will eventually fall from around the current 286 megalitres daily (less than 10% of historical est. average daily flow) to around 50 megalitres a day.

ABC News, 6 September 2019: 

A rare event that took place 30 kilometres above the South Pole last week is expected to impact upon Australia's rainfall outlook. 

The upper atmosphere above Antarctica warmed by as much as 40 degrees Celsius in the course of a few days — and it is continuing to warm. 

This rare phenomenon, known as sudden stratospheric warming (SSW), could deepen one of the worst droughts in Australian history. 

The Bureau of Meteorology's Harry Hendon warned of dry weather ahead. "We will typically see conditions across most of Australia, but primarily concentrated in the eastern part of Australia, become warmer and drier through spring and into early summer," Dr Hendon said. 

SSW is rare in the southern hemisphere with only one major event ever identified, in 2002 — one of Australia's driest years on record.... 

Sudden stratospheric warming over Antarctica causes westerly winds south of Australia to track further north, a pattern meteorologists refer to as a 'negative SAM'. In spring and summer, this negative SAM pattern brings warmer, drier air into southern Queensland and New South Wales. 

"Unfortunately, these are areas already in drought," said a lead author of the BOM's spring climate outlook, Andrew Watkins. 

Dr Watkins said cooler than normal water in the Indian Ocean, a phenomenon meteorologists call a 'positive IOD', has led to a lack of moisture drifting over the continent. 

"This has certainly been a big factor in why winter has been so dry in virtually all of Australia," he said. 

"On top of that, we have the likelihood of prolonged periods of negative SAM, which also brings drier conditions to New South Wales and southern Queensland. 

"So it's a bit of a double whammy in those locations." Dr Watkins said the impact of the SSW may be felt in Australia through to the end of the year. 

"These sudden stratospheric warming events and the patterns that we see from them can go from September [to] October, sometimes persisting through to January," he said. 

Dr Hendon said he was gratified the Bureau of Meteorology's computer models were able to predict the event. 

"In 2002 we didn't even know about it until after it happened, and we didn't know if we would ever be able to predict it," he said. "It's exciting for us now that we have predictive capability that we didn't have in 2002."

NSW Department of Primary Industries, Combined Drought Indicator:

BACKGROUND

Bureau of Meteorology, 29 August 2019, media release, excerpt: 

FAST FACTS NEW SOUTH WALES 

Spring outlook shows: 

 • Daytime temperatures are likely to be warmer than average across the entire state. Overnight temperatures are also likely to be warmer than average across most of the state, with the highest likelihood in the north. 

• A higher likelihood of drier than average conditions in the coming three months across most of the state. 

Preliminary winter summary shows: 

 • Temperatures in New South Wales have been above average. Daytime temperatures are likely to rank among the warmest 10 winters on record. 

• Rainfall has been below average. 

• Likely to be among Sydney's three warmest winters on record for daytime temperatures, while rainfall was close to average.

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.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

First global assessment of the ecological health of the world's "wild" rivers has found only about one third of the longest rivers are still free-flowing


As the Queensland flood waters finally make it down the Dimantina and Georgina rivers and Cooper's Creek and spread out over the Eyre Basin and into Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, it is well to remember three things.

The first is that; The Lake Eyre Basin is one of the largest and most pristine desert river systems on the planet, supporting 60,000 people and a wealth of wildlife.

The second is the fact that the Morrison Government has a stated policy to dam and divert more water from Australia's river systems if it is re-elected. 

The third is that water sustainability into the future is dependent on wild rivers running free.

ABC Radio,“RN”, 9 May 2019:

The first global assessment of the ecological health of the world's "wild" rivers has found only about one third of the longest rivers are still free-flowing.

The report warns the disruption is harming ecosystems, with 3,700 new large dams either under construction, or planned.


Nature, 8 May 2019:

Gill,Gunter et al, (2019) Mapping the world’s free-flowing rivers

ABSTRACT

Free-flowing rivers (FFRs) support diverse, complex and dynamic ecosystems globally, providing important societal and economic services. Infrastructure development threatens the ecosystem processes, biodiversity and services that these rivers support. Here we assess the connectivity status of 12 million kilometres of rivers globally and identify those that remain free-flowing in their entire length. Only 37 per cent of rivers longer than 1,000 kilometres remain free-flowing over their entire length and 23 per cent flow uninterrupted to the ocean. Very long FFRs are largely restricted to remote regions of the Arctic and of the Amazon and Congo basins. In densely populated areas only few very long rivers remain free-flowing, such as the Irrawaddy and Salween. Dams and reservoirs and their up- and downstream propagation of fragmentation and flow regulation are the leading contributors to the loss of river connectivity. By applying a new method to quantify riverine connectivity and map FFRs, we provide a foundation for concerted global and national strategies to maintain or restore them.