A bone on cracked earth at a property near Walgett, NSW, which has been affected by years of drought. CREDIT:ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN
PERHAPS with the Peel having been sucked dry … that dehydration is already causing acute changes in brain function for some?
Tamworth sucks rivers dry. Demands 40,000 new migrants
By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy, Featured Article
December 5, 2019 | 48 comments
The NSW regional city of Tamworth is currently facing Stage 4 water restrictions, with the Chaffey Dam at just 15.6% capacity after experiencing record low inflows.
Today, The SMH reveals that Tamworth has sucked the Peel River dry:
The once-proud Peel River – also described as a “glorified creek” by those who know and love it – is the lifeblood to the city of 62,000, which is heavily dependent on agriculture and was facing the prospect of running dry in six months without urgent intervention…
Mayor Col Murray said the city had no groundwater and had run out of alternatives.
“You can’t truck water to a city like Tamworth, it’s just not an option,” he said. “You would have to have a B-double load of water unloading every six minutes, 24/7. That’s just not practical – you wouldn’t have trucks available and … where would you get the water?”…
Tamworth mayor Col Murray at the opening of Chaffey Dam in 2016.CREDIT:GARETH GARDNER
Hilariously, Tamworth’s authorities are determined to lift the region’s population from 62,000 currently to over 100,000 as quickly as possible:
At this rate it will take Tamworth until about 2073 to reach the 100,000 population target.
The local government area grew by just under 1 per cent from 2017 to 2018, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows. Tamworth Regional Council has an ambitious plan to shave at least three decades off that.
“We need to increase the growth rate to a bit over 2 per cent,” acting mayor Phil Betts said. “It is an ambitious target but it’s possible…”.
Mayor Col Murray
Tamworth Mayor Col Murray also believes that a growing population is needed to solve Tamworth’s water crisis:
While water is a major concern for the city presently, the mayor said a growing city would demand government investment in a greater security.
“I would argue we have got no chance of increasing our water security without having population growth,” [Mayor Col Murray] said.
“That’ll force it to happen.
“I have absolutely got no concerns that there’ll be water for the future, providing we have got the plan and got the population growth to strengthen it.”
You cannot make this stuff up. Tamworth is already running out of water. But somehow we are not to worry about the extra demand that would come from 40,000 (60%) more people, especially in light of climate change, which is expected to lower rainfall and increase evaporation.
Remember, Tamworth is located far away from the ocean, meaning that water desalination is not available.
Water scarcity remains the elephant in the room of the population debate, and the key issue that ‘Big Australia’ boosters deliberately ignore, including Tamworth Mayor Col Murray.
Tamworth also illustrates the lunacy of the Morrison Government’s ‘migrants to the bush’ policy. Sending thousands of people to the interior of the driest continent on earth is a clear recipe for disaster.
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.