World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Australia’s Growing Dam Crisis

“The food we eat the water we drink and the power we use for most of our endeavours,
are available only because previous generations invested their knowhow and money for the future.
It is time this generation did the same.”

Ron Pike.

Australia is a dry continent – that is a fact of geography and global climate.

However, per head of population, we have abundant fresh water resources in rivers, lakes, dams, soils and underground. But we do not conserve enough of it, and much of what is conserved is wasted by foolish policies.

Politicians welcome (and sometimes subsidise) population growth, migrants, refugees and tourists but they neglect or prevent water conservation. And green schemers and globalist politicians are deliberately turning occasional water shortages into an on-going crisis.

Our main problem is that enormous volumes of flood water flow into the sea during rain events while the same rivers run dry during droughts. Sensible people would moderate both floods and droughts with well-planned dams and weirs.

Australia’s rainfall is not well distributed - usually there is abundant water on the coastal side of the ranges, but the vast inland is largely dryland and desert.

More than 80 years ago, Dr John Bradfield, the great Australian engineer who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, could see what was needed – build dams to catch water on the rainy side and transfer it to the dry side, preferably generating some hydro power in the process. Water transfer could be achieved using tunnels and/or pipes-pumps assisted by syphon, wind or hydro energy. We have engineers and equipment able to drill huge traffic tunnels – let’s show similar skill in water management and transfer.



Once we had people with the determination and skills needed to create farsighted water projects like the Snowy Mountain Scheme, the Ord Scheme, the Gordon Dam, the Burdekin Dam and the Perth Kalgoorlie Water Pipeline. Those days are past.

Today we have far more people but we are not conserving more water. It is 35 years since we build a large dam in Australia. And we neglect or waste underground water resources.

Urban dwellers demand cheap, clean, abundant water for long showers, washing dishes and cars, public and private pools, verdant lawns, fountains, gardens, parks, golf courses and weekend retreats.

However, many of these same people tend to lead the vocal opposition to any proposal for a new dam. They criticise farmers who conserve water to grow our food and fibre, and promote high water prices in order to crush farm demand for it.

A sensible society would identify the best dam sites and have a long-term plan for acquiring and storing the land rights needed for them. We do the reverse. Decisions are postponed until the need is critical. Then landowners with vested interests, green busybodies and media stirrers manage to scare the politicians, and the water conservation proposal is killed.

Then the “No Dams” mafia takes over, trying to sterilise the site for all future dams by quietly changing land-use and vegetation classifications.

Sydney shows how to create a water shortage such as the current one that caused the sudden weekend imposition of water restrictions. We need to remember the history of this crisis.

Back in 2002 the Carr Labor government killed the proposal to build the Welcome Reef dam on the Shoalhaven River near Braidwood. To ensure this proposal never arose again Premier Carr gazetted 100 new national parks between the Bega Valley and Nowra.

Green destroyers have also grossly mismanaged stored water by insisting on excessive and ill-timed “environmental” flows. This is a scheme where you build a dam to catch water and then try to manage the water as if the dam did not exist. It is very slow and expensive to get this lost water back from the sea using the Flannery desalination plants.

We have businessmen who can spend millions of dollars on election advertisements and casinos, and politicians who can contemplate spending billions of dollars on games and stadiums, but they can always find an academic to debunk expenditure on a new dam.

American pioneers learned from the beavers how to preserve the life blood of rivers by building weirs. Our stressed Darling River has such a low gradient that a string of weirs could preserve the river environment and sensibly ration available water supplies for fish, farmers and wildlife. And it has tributaries that could support dams.

However Greens and fellow travellers can be guaranteed to oppose every new dam or weir proposal. Judging from overseas trends, they will soon be suggesting that existing dams be destroyed. If they can find a rare frog or a native plant, or can invent a dreamtime story, any dam proposal can be delayed for decades.

It is time for real conservation – conserve our water.

(754 words)

Viv Forbes

Viv Forbes is a geologist/pastoralist who has walked along or been flooded by many northern Australian rivers. He has fed starving stock in the droughts and carted water for them. When employed by the Queensland State Government as a field mapping geologist he inspected the Nathan Gorge Dam site in 1964, 55 years ago. It is still undeveloped.

Some reading:
https://saltbushclub.com/category/watch-lists/water-watch/

A Basin Plan that Works for All:
https://saltbushclub.com/2019/05/27/basin-plan/

NSW water supplies:
https://realtimedata.waternsw.com.au/water.stm

Carr's dam folly:
https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/wa/a-city-washed-up-on-carrs-dam-folly-ng-17ecfc4d0ef9910c432231a25277bce3

The Bradfield Scheme:
https://trove.nla.gov.au/list?id=63871
https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2019/02/the-bradfield-scheme-reborn/

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Collective Punishment In Venezuela

Yemen, Venezuela, Iran, Gaza… beyond the particulars of their suffering, each of these countries currently share one thing in common: their ordinary citizens are being subjected to collective punishment, in order to bring about regime change. More>>

Widely Ignored Report: 40,000 Dead Venezuelans Under US Sanctions

A new report on April 25 by a respected think tank has estimated that US sanctions imposed on Venezuela in August 2017 have caused around 40,000 deaths... Additional sanctions imposed in January 2019 are likely to lead to tens of thousands of further deaths. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Left-Wing Victory In Spain

Portugal and Spain continue to be striking exceptions to the rise of rightwing populism in Europe, a fact that’s commonly explained by the relatively recent experience both countries have had of living under fascist regimes. (Franco in Spain, and Salazar in Portugal.)

That horrific past still seems very much alive in the minds of voters... More>>

Easter Bombings Kill Hundreds: UN, World Leaders Condemn Sri Lanka Attacks

More than 200 have been killed and hundreds injured by a series of explosions inside churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, as Christians gathered for services to celebrate Easter.. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC