SYDNEY DAMS SET TO DROP BELOW HALF CAPACITY FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2004

KEY POINTS FROM THE UNCONVENTIONAL ECONOMIST …

It’s winter. The desalination plant is running full throttle. Sydneysiders are consuming less water. And yet Sydney’s dam levels have fallen below 50% – the lowest reading since 2004 when the Millennium drought was raging – with worse to come:

Sydney added 93,400 new water consumers last year; 77,100 through immigration

what will happen to Sydney’s water supply with an additional 4.5 million people over the next 48 years; as droughts become more common because of climate change?

Sydney’s West is projected to have an extra 1,000,000 people in the next 20 years

-a long way from the coast with the cost of piping desalinated water uphill will be very expensive

View:

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2019/07/02/australians-will-have-to-get-used-to-drinking-recycled-water/

WHY are those advocating for a Big Australia ignoring Australia’s fragile water supply? Across the nation from the coastal cities into the regions

Why persist with an immigration programme triple the historical average?

Sydney dams set to drop below half capacity for first time since 2004

Peter Hannam
By Peter Hannam

August 15, 2019

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The dams serving metropolitan Sydney will sink below 50 per cent full for the first time in 15 years by the weekend, with long-range weather forecasts suggesting the slide could accelerate.

Sydney’s storages dropped to 50.1 per cent capacity on Thursday, and are losing 0.4 percentage points per week with little prospects for more than the odd shower.

Avon Dam in the Woronora catchment area to Sydney's south is sitting at just below 50 per cent full - about where the overall storages for the city sit.
Avon Dam in the Woronora catchment area to Sydney’s south is sitting at just below 50 per cent full – about where the overall storages for the city sit.CREDIT:JANIE BARRETT

The Bureau of Meteorology’s three-monthly outlook for the September-November period suggests the relatively dry times will continue for most of the nation, including most of NSW.

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall

September to November 2019

Image

The key climate influence is from the Indian Ocean, where conditions off north-western Australia favour reduced moisture flows. Such a pattern typically produces a drier than normal spring for south-eastern Australia.

The odds also suggest day-time temperatures for most of the continent will be warmer than average for the September-November stint.

Coastal showers have bumped up Sydney’s winter rainfall tallies but these have virtually dried up in July and August. Inland regions, such as the city’s catchments, have been drier still.

Rapid decline

The last time Sydney’s dams dropped below the 50 per cent was in May 2004, during the Millennium drought of the mid-2000s.

According to a WaterNSW spokesman, the rate of the present slide in storage levels continues to exceed the pace of that dry spell more than a decade ago.

Sydney water storage

Currently available 50%

Image

NB – Updated August 2019.  Source: waternsw.com.au

The decline continues even though Sydney’s desalination plant began producing water for the city’s users in March and reached full capacity of about 15 per cent of total demand at the start of August, a spokesman said.

“Preliminary expansion planning” has now begun on doubling the plant’s capacity of 250 million litres of water a day, he said.

Sydneysiders have responded to first-stage restrictions, with usage about 7 per cent lower since July than forecast, a Sydney Water spokesman said. Total demand is about 100 million litres per day less than a year ago.

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“From August 2018 to July 2019, Sydney used 563.5 gigalitres of water compared with 602.5 gigalitres for the same period the year before,” he said.

Warming up

Warmer conditions and longer days will likely see evaporation rates increase. So far this month, Sydney’s Observatory Hill has collected 3.2 millimetres of rain while evaporation was about 20 times that.

Sydney can expect to reach 25 degrees on Friday, about 7 degrees above the August norm. Inland temperatures will rise further – ahead of a front moving through early next week – with Bourke to hit 30 degrees on Sunday, Jordan Notara, a bureau forecaster said.

The best chance for rain for Sydney in the next week may be on Monday but even then it is just a 15 per cent probability, he said.

Alpine regions could fare better, with another 20-30 centimetres of snow possible early next week.

The generally dry conditions have prompted the Rural Fire Service to add another nine districts to the list of areas where the official fire season is under way. Those regions – including Byron, Bellingen and Lismore – will enter the fire restriction period from August 17.

Authorities are considering whether to bring Sydney’s official fire season start to September 1 rather than the typical October 1 commencement.

Peter Hannam

Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Avon Dam in the Woronora catchment area to Sydney's south is sitting at just below 50 per cent full - about where the overall storages for the city sit.

SMH Photo: Avon Dam in the Woronora catchment area to Sydney’s south is sitting at just below 50 per cent full – about where the overall storages for the city sit.CREDIT:JANIE BARRETT

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/sydney-dams-set-to-drop-below-half-capacity-for-first-time-since-2004-20190815-p52hfx.html

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WARRAGAMBA DAM PLAN STIRS WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE WORRY OVER ‘VALUES’

Warragamba Dam plan stirs World Heritage Committee worry over ‘values’

Peter Hannam
By Peter Hannam

July 3, 2019

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The NSW government’s plan to raise the height of the Warragamba Dam has triggered concern from the World Heritage Committee that the Blue Mountain’s “outstanding universal values” will be affected.

The committee issued its response to the proposal at a UNESCO meeting in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, on Wednesday. It noted the raised dam would likely increase the extent and frequency of inundation of the World Heritage area.

The NSW government's plan to raise the height of Warragamba Dam by 14 metres has generated concern at a World Heritage Committee meeting in Azerbaijan.
The NSW government’s plan to raise the height of Warragamba Dam by 14 metres has generated concern at a World Heritage Committee meeting in Azerbaijan. CREDIT:AAP

The committee requested the government submit the proposal’s environmental impact assessment to the World Heritage Centre “for review” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature “prior to taking any final decision regarding the project”.

Officially, Infrastructure NSW has been working on a project that would raise the dam wall of Sydney’s main reservoir by 14 metres to 144.5 metres, flooding as much as 5000 hectares of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

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The Warragamba Dam is proposed to be lifted by 14 metres but construction is understood to provide for a future raising to 17 metres.
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However, as reported in the Herald in March, one document indicated construction would involve building 17-metre-high abutments that would permit a further raising with minimal additional work.

The World Heritage Committee also noted that it considered any construction of dams with large reservoirs within the boundaries of World Heritage properties “incompatible with their World Heritage status”.

It urged all governments to “ensure that the impacts from dams that could affect properties located upstream or downstream within the same river basin are rigorously assessed in order to avoid impacts on [their] outstanding universal values”.

Bob Debus, a former NSW Environment Minister who presided over the successful nomination of the Blue Mountains region for World Heritage state, told the Baku gathering that as much as 65 kilometres of wilderness rivers would be flooded if the dam wall were to be raised.

“The area proposed for inundation includes at least 300 known Gundungurra Aboriginal cultural sites, which would be damaged,” he said. “Its cultural and conservation value is exceptional even within the Blue Mountains area.”

“The government of New South Wales has in its own publications treated [outstanding universal values] as little more than an irritating afterthought.”

“[Australia’s] failure to protect World Heritage in the Blue Mountains would not be an isolated misfortune,” Mr Debus said. “It would amount to a fundamental attack on the [World Heritage] Convention itself.”

The Berejiklian government has argued that the wall must be raised to reduce the risk of catastrophic flooding in the Hawkesbury-Nepean river plain.

Much of the plain was frequently inundated during the first 150 years of European settlement although a relative dearth of floods in the past half century have prompted planning authorities to allow development of houses and other infrastructure in the flood zone.

Mr Debus said the government’s support for the project – to cost as much as $1 billion – “so far presume that the population living on the floodplain will be greatly increased”.

“It has so far demonstrated very little interest in a rigorous assessment of alternative strategies for flood mitigation, urban planning and water supply, even though strategies clearly exist.”

Stuart Ayres, the Western Sydney Minister, said the project’s environmental impact statement would be provided to the World Heritage Committee “when it is placed on public exhibition in early 2020”.

“The Hawkesbury-Nepean is a high-risk floodplain,” Mr Ayres said. “Raising the dam wall is key part of the strategy to reduce the existing risk to life and property on the floodplain.”

“The final decision to raise the wall has not yet been taken and will only take place after financial, environment and cultural assessments have concluded,” he said.

“While there will be environmental impacts from temporarily holding flood water from behind a raised dam wall, they must be measured against the social and financial impact a catastrophic flood would have on Western Sydney communities.”

Peter Hannam

Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/warragamba-dam-plan-stirs-world-heritage-committee-worry-over-values-20190703-p523wr.html

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‘QUITE SCARY’ … SYDNEY, MELBOURNE WATER SECURITY TUMBLES

Water security for major Australian cities including Melbourne and Sydney is likely to become more of a challenge under climate change, scientists say.

Water security for major Australian cities including Melbourne and Sydney is likely to become more of a challenge under climate change, scientists say.CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL

The Cataract Dam to Sydney’s south is less than a third full, among the lowest levels for reservoirs serving the Greater Sydney region … impacted by climate change …

What will happen when Sydney’s population … through immigration … doubles to around 10 million people by mid century?

OR will our families perish long before then?  Having become …

-unemployed

-homeless

P.S. View the comments of others …

“Quite scary”: Melbourne, Sydney water security tumbles

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

August 6, 2019 | 22 comments

New scientific research reported by Fairfax warns that Melbourne and Sydney are facing chronic water shortages in the future:

A paper published by Environment Research Letters shows a “substantially” amplified risk for Melbourne’s water availability if global temperatures rise 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels rather than the 1.5-degree target set by the Paris climate agreement.

Separate research by the University of NSW into future rainfall and temperatures for some 222 catchments across Australia – some of which serve Sydney – found a marked increase in vulnerability of supply.

“It’s quite scary actually,” Ashish Sharma, a professor in UNSW’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said. “The implications for water security for this region are not good.”

Warmer temperatures lift evaporation rates and dry out catchments… “It is a double whammy,” he said. “You’re having a reduced access to water and increased water demand…

Benjamin Henley – who studies water resource impacts from climate change at the University of Melbourne and the lead author of the research paper – said a warming world pointed to reduced rainfall in southern states.

“In the south, we’re likely to face a long-term drying trend under climate change, and it has almost certainly started,” Dr Henley said.

What is conveniently left out, as usual, is that both cities’ populations have increased enormously due to immigration-fuelled population growth, which is projected to continue indefinitely:

  • It took Sydney roughly 210 years to reach a population of 3.9 million in 2001. Yet the official medium projection by the ABS has Sydney having roughly 2.5 times that number of people in only 65 years to 9.7 million people.
  • It took Melbourne nearly 170 years to reach a population of 3.3 million in 2001. However, the official medium ABS projection has Melbourne’s population tripling that number in only 65 years to 10.2 million people.

*So, what happens when Sydney’s and Melbourne’s populations double to around 10 million people in the next half a century, driven almost solely by immigration, at the same time as droughts become more common because of climate change?

*Water scarcity remains the unspoken ‘elephant in the room’ of the population debate, and the key issue Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ boosters deliberately choose to ignore.

The first best policy response to alleviating Melbourne’s and Sydney’s water woes is to not make the situation worse by force-feeding many millions of new migrants. It’s bleedingly obvious.

The Cataract Dam to Sydney's south is less than a third full, among the lowest levels for reservoirs serving the Greater Sydney region.

The Cataract Dam to Sydney’s south is less than a third full, among the lowest levels for reservoirs serving the Greater Sydney region.CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL

SOURCE: https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/08/quite-scary-melbourne-sydneys-water-security-tumbles/

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BACTERIAL RUSSIAN ROULETTE IN POPULAR SYDNEY RIVER SWIMMING SPOTS

… of Penrith Weir, and Yarramundi

Ask why the NSW Government cannot extend its Beach Watch Programme to introduce a ‘Riverwatch’ … and call for daily bulletins of pollution threats!

‘Bacterial Russian roulette’ in popular Sydney river swimming spots

Peter Hannam
By Peter Hannam

August 2, 2019

Some of the most popular swimming spots on the Nepean River in Sydney’s west often exceed levels of E.coli bacteria that would trigger public alerts in other cities, including Melbourne, new research shows.

Analysis of samples collected by WaterNSW over five years by Western Sydney University researchers at seven sites on the river show a sharp increase in bacteria readings even after a few millimetres of rain.

The findings, not previously made public, have prompted calls for the Berejiklian government to introduce a “Riverwatch” equivalent to the daily Beachwatch bulletins that would warn of pollution threats.

Swimmers in the Hawkesbury near Penrith: no warnings yet if pollution levels are high.
Swimmers in the Hawkesbury near Penrith: no warnings yet if pollution levels are high.CREDIT:WOLTER PEETERS

“The E.Coli results show that all [seven] locations examined on the Nepean River indicate that there are substantial public health risks, based on microbial quality, for people who swim in the river,” according to the peer-reviewed WSU research released at a conference last month.

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‘Drives me insane’: lack of information exposes Sydney’s river users

The paper said there was a “failure of the ‘duty of care'” by state agencies which regularly collect faecal bacterial data but do not share it “with potentially vulnerable river users” when it exceeded hazardous levels.

Exposure to E.Coli can cause ear, nose and eye infections, and gastro-intestinal illnesses including diarrhoea.

Penrith Weir had the highest E.coli levels. with almost one in three samples exceeding the 100 organisms per 100-millilitre level that locations such as Ontario in Canada treat as a risk to human safety.

The weir topped levels of 500 organisms per 100ml – a threshold that prompts public warnings for Melbourne’s Yarra River – in almost 8 per cent of the samples.

For Yarramundi, another popular swimming location, the instances were reached about one in every six samples for the 100 organisms per 100ml, and for 6.7 per cent of the higher pollution level.

RELATED ARTICLE

Water security for major Australian cities including Melbourne and Sydney is likely to become more of a challenge under climate change, scientists say.
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*”It’s unbelievable that the public are not warned when [the E.coli level] is dangerous,” said Ian Wright, a senior lecturer at WSU,  and co-author of the research. “Swimmers are taking unnecessary risks in my opinion. It’s bacterial Russian Roulette.”

*Dr Wright said that while water quality “was actually quite good”, pollution readings “were hyper-sensitive to rainfall”.  For instance, E.coli readings can jump tenfold even after just 3 millimetres of rain in the preceding week.

*Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean was approached for comment. His predecessor, Gabrielle Upton, said in March the government “would consider”extending the Beachwatch program if re-elected.

A Planning spokeswoman said questions should be directed to Penrith and Hawkesbury councils, both of which have started testing the water quality.

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Orange is the new pristine? Visitors to one of the Special Areas of Sydney's catchment area this week, (left to right), Georgina Woods from Lock the Gate, Peter Turner of the National Parks Association, Western Sydney University's Ian Wright and Kaye Osborn from the Protect Our Water Alliance.
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Penrith council said it tested only between October and March, and expects to make its finding public by next March.

Hawkesbury council is working on an annual report on the river’s health. It is also testing water with the government at Windsor and Yarramundi and developing a plan on how to make the results public.

*Greens spokeswoman Cate Faehrmann said there was “gross negligence on the part of the government” because information affecting the community’s safety “was deliberately withheld”.

“If cities like Melbourne and Brisbane can issue water quality alerts for their rivers, then surely WaterNSW can do the same for the Nepean,” she said.

Kate Washington, Labor’s environment spokeswoman, said it was “unforgivable” that the government had the data but had failed to “raise the alarm or implement monitoring”.

“If the government knows it’s not safe to swim and they’re not telling the families, it’s outrageous,” she said.  “If swimmers in the east are given this health information, swimmers in the west deserve it too.”

Peter Hannam

Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Swimmers in the Hawkesbury near Penrith: no warnings yet if pollution levels are high.

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/bacterial-russian-roulette-in-popular-sydney-river-swimming-spots-20190802-p52dcf.html

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THE GUARDIAN: CONCERNS GROW OVER PLAN TO RAISE WARRAGAMBA DAM WALL

KEY POINTS …

-Sydney’s dams dropped a quarter of their volume in the past year

.to sit at 53.9% full as of Wednesday 26 Jun

-over the last 2 years dam levels dropped faster than average during Millennium Drought

-what will happen with another 4.5 M people in Sydney driven by immigration

-Sydney’s West is projected to have an extra million people in 20 years

-WaterNSW revealed housing developments built too close to pipelines have impacted water quality

-urbanisation has increased pressure on integrity of water supply infrastructure

.namely the Warragamba Pipeline and the Upper Canal

 

RELATED ARTICLE:   CLIMATE CHANGE AND POPULATION GROWTH ARE MAKING THE WORLD’s WATER WOES MORE URGENT

VIEW:   https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/11091/

 

Taylor Clarke and her mother Kazan Brown are traditional custodians of the Warragamba area and want the plan to raise the dam wall scrapped

Taylor Clarke and her mother Kazan Brown are traditional custodians of the Warragamba area and are against NSW Govt plans to raise the dam wall. Photograph:  Jessica Hromas/The Guardian

Guardian bewails Sydney dam that it built

 

The Guardian is a reservoir of cognitive dissonance on a scale rarely seen:

Also on CAAN Website:  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jul/02/so-much-that-will-be-lost-concerns-grow-over-plan-to-raise-warragamba-dam-wall

 

Kazan Brown’s father helped build Warragamba Dam – under a kind of duress – after he was forced off his land by it.

The first walls went up in 1948, 138m high, flooding the Burragorang Valley. The Gundungurra people had known it for over 50,000 years, as a place, in creation stories, carved out by a battle between two spirits: Mirragan and Gurangatch.

It took 12 years to trap all that water, a greater volume than in Sydney harbour, and the toil of 1,800 workers15 of whom died. And they lost the valley.

The government evicted some of the Indigenous occupants, acquired land, and put it underwater.

Brown’s great-grandmother refused to leave, and her sons had to walk in and carry her out, leaving all the furniture behind.

“My mother was born there. My grandfather was born there. We go back before settlement in this area,” she says.

“We grew up looking after it. We lived here. My family came out of the valley and moved into Warragamba and it has just been part of us – part of our life.”

Warragamba Dam now provides water to the 4.5m people of greater Sydney and surrounding areas. In the 1980s, they raised the wall by 5m. Now the state government is planning to raise the wall again – by 14 or 17 metres, the figures differ.

 

The Warragamba dam wall which the NSW government is proposing to raise

The Warragamba dam wall which the NSW government is proposing to raise. Photograph: Jessica Hromas/The Guardian

 

*OK, I’m all for protecting the inheritance of the Gundungurra people. So let’s not build the dam wall. Let’s solve the problem at its source. Reduce population growth.

The same mass immigration model that The Guardian defends to the death every single day. As Greg Jericho so succinctly put it:

Immigration – because there are many desperate to hate – must be treated with extreme care by politicians and journalists, and certainly with more care than Abbott seems capable. The inherently racist parties will seek to use any discussion and any seeming evidence of the negative impact of migrants as fuel to burn their fires of hate.

Dam walls will be built hundreds of meters higher before we are done as Sydney population doubles under The Guardian’s mass immigration forever plan.

The city’s water storages are already “dropping faster than they have in decades”, despite falling average water use:

*Sydney’s dams have dropped about a quarter of their volume in the past year to sit at 53.9 per cent full as of WednesdayWaterNSW data show

*Dam levels were “dropping faster than they have in decades”, a spokesman for Sydney Water said. “Over the last two years dam levels have dropped faster than the average rate during the Millennium Drought.”

Average water use is now about 200 litres per person a day in Sydney, down from around 250 litres before the big drought set in.

Total water demand in the first four months of 2019 was about 8 per cent lower than the same period last year – 192 billion litres compared with 209 billion litres. That was one sign consumers were already “doing their bit” to curtail water use, especially during the past summer, the Sydney Water spokesman said.

*So, what happens when Sydney’s population balloons by a projected 4.5 million people (86%) over the next 48 years, driven solely by immigration, at the same time as droughts become more common because of climate change?

*Heck, Sydney’s West is projected to take an extra one million people alone in the next 20 years, posing major problems for water supply:

And also here:  https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.wordpress.com/2019/07/02/poorly-planned-western-sydney-housing-developments-contaminating-water-supply/

*Documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph can reveal WaterNSW and Sydney Water have voiced concerns that Sydney’s urban sprawl and booming population are putting increasing pressure on the water system, and steps need to be urgently taken to ensure Sydney is not hit by a water shortage.

*WaterNSW has also revealed that housing developments built too close to pipelines and canals in Western Sydney have “already resulted in impacts to the water quality”.

*“Increasing urbanisation, particularly in western and southwestern Sydney, have resulted in increased pressure on the integrity of critical water supply infrastructure, namely the Warragamba Pipeline and the Upper Canal,” the documents state…

*WaterNSW says that housing and land developments need to start considering the impact building is having on water supply.

It is investigating “water augmentation strategies” to service the booming population…

Remember, Western Sydney is also located a long way from the coast and the cost of piping desalinated water uphill will necessarily be very expensive:

And also here:

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.wordpress.com/2019/07/02/australians-will-have-to-get-used-to-drinking-recycled-water/

“Water being non-compressible and quite a heavy substance — it’s quite expensive to transport,” said Mr Lovell.

“Even if you’re looking at Sydney on the coast through to Penrith or from Wonthaggi to the north of Melbourne — you’re looking at 80 to 90 kilometres. That’s really expensive, and it’s a really inefficient way to transport water”…

Professor Khan said a whole new set of pipelines would need to be built to get desalinated water west of there, where the population growth will be.

“The further you (pump desalinated water) inland, the more you’re working in a direction that is opposite to the way our water supply systems are designed and operate,” he said.

“They pump water from the source — up in the reservoirs, up in the hills — to the coast. And it’s very difficult to actually turn that around.”

A word to the wise. There is no fixing Sydney water shortages for double the population without bulldozing anything and everything in sight.

 

 

The view from Lincoln’s Rock at Wentworth Falls

The view from Lincoln’s Rock at Wentworth Falls. Photograph: Jessica Hromas/The Guardian

 

SOURCE:  https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/07/guardian-bewails-sydney-dam-that-it-built/

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AUSTRALIANS WILL HAVE TO GET USED TO DRINKING RECYCLED WATER

 

Australians will have to get used to drinking recycled water

 

Updated 

Drinking treated sewage has always been on the nose in Australia.

 

The “ick” factor has led successive state governments across the country to rule it out as an option and was a key reason desalination plants were built in many capital cities.

But you’re going to have to get over it because once population booms and climate change bites, most Australians will be drinking recycled water, according to urban water experts.

“I believe it will happen in the next decade for one of our capital cities on the east coast,” Water Services Association of Australia executive director Adam Lovell said.

“For Australia to really grow and to have competitive cities and liveable cities, we have to embrace potable reuse as one of our supplies going forward.”

For people living in inland regional cities like Goulburn and Canberra, where desalination plants aren’t an option, it could be even sooner.

“There are inland towns who came very close to having to build recycled water plants at the end of the millennium drought,” said Stuart Khan, from the Water Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

“That’s really going to be the next viable option (for those towns) … they will have very few choices and they will be pushing to be able to develop potable water recycling schemes in order to sustain their communities and cities.”

Increasing demand for water needs to be addressed

To grasp how real this prospect is, you only need to look at the population forecasts.

In Sydney, when Warragamba dam is full, the city has about four years worth of water supply.

Double the population, as is forecast in 50 years, and that falls to two years worth of water supply — and that is only when it is full, a scenario that might become a lot less frequent with climate change.

But that is what desalination plants are for, right? Well … only to a point.

In Sydney, most of the 725,000 new dwellings that will need to be built by 2036 to keep pace with population growth will be built in the west, according to the Greater Sydney Commission.

 

The compass direction changes, but the trend is the same for all coastal capital cities: population growth is moving away from the coast and away from desalination plants.

“Water being non-compressible and quite a heavy substance — it’s quite expensive to transport,” said Mr Lovell.

“Even if you’re looking at Sydney on the coast through to Penrith or from Wonthaggi to the north of Melbourne — you’re looking at 80 to 90 kilometres. That’s really expensive, and it’s a really inefficient way to transport water.”

In Sydney, for instance, infrastructure is only in place to pump desalinated water from the plant in Kurnell to the CBD and eastern suburbs.

Professor Khan said a whole new set of pipelines would need to be built to get desalinated water west of there, where the population growth will be.

“The further you (pump desalinated water) inland, the more you’re working in a direction that is opposite to the way our water supply systems are designed and operate,” he said.

“They pump water from the source — up in the reservoirs, up in the hills — to the coast. And it’s very difficult to actually turn that around.”

It is not impossible for these pipelines to be built to the west, but it will cost a lot of money.

 

Desalinated water costs roughly twice as much to treat as recycled water, according to Mr Lovell. And that’s before you start adding in the costs of a pipeline.

Professor Khan said it would be much easier and cheaper to recycle water from a wastewater treatment plant close to where water is traditionally supplied from, to make use of existing infrastructure.

“I think in the future that’s the way all big cities will go,” he said.

Mr Lovell agreed.

“In terms of an overall water supply strategy for a city, it’s absolutely critical for the future. It’ll help to form the backbone of water supplies.”

Swallowing the message of ‘toilet to tap’

There are examples around the world where people are already drinking recycled effluent — sewage that is treated to a drinkable standard and then pumped into water storages or directly to consumers’ homes.

They include countries such as Singapore and Namibia, towns in Texas and California, as well as somewhere a lot closer to home.

“The technology is very straight-forward and the risks are almost negligible. The issues are about community acceptance and bringing the community along,” said Sue Murphy, the CEO of the Water Corporation of Western Australia.

Perth’s water management system has been hailed as best practice around the world.

The city is on the same latitude as Cape Town in South Africa, and faces similar climate pressures.

But unlike Cape Town, which earlier this year named a “Day Zero” when water supplies would run out, Perth is forecast to be able to cope with a growing population and increasingly unstable climate.

Perth has two desalination plants that run at full capacity, and since last year has been pumping recycled sewage back into the city’s groundwater.

“In Western Australia, we talk about (recycled water) a lot. We use the phrases that have been traditionally used by the media to kill a plant, like ‘toilet to tap’, she said.

In a nutshell, the Water Corporation takes sewage after it has been through a wastewater treatment plant, treats it again to bring it up to drinking standard and then returns it to the city’s groundwater.

 

Unlike other Australian capitals, Perth draws most of its drinking water supplies from groundwater.

“We had a 10-year journey here before we even started it, where we did a lot of research,” she said.

“We had a visitor centre with a big trial facility and took thousands of school children and their parents through the visitor centre to try and get people to understand the technology and the risks.”

In 2012, 79 per cent of Perth residents were in support of the scheme, according to a Water Corporation survey.

“I think people can understand the issues clearly and well if you keep the dialogue going. You also need time for change,” she said.

The relatively straightforward introduction of recycled effluent to the city’s drinking supplies is in stark contrast to Queensland.

In 2006, as the millennium drought took hold, Toowoomba famously voted against a recycling scheme.

Despite that, a year later then Queensland premier Peter Beattie commissioned the construction of one of the biggest water recycling schemes in the world in Brisbane, at a cost of $2.5 billion.

The infrastructure was built, but the water has never been released into the city’s drinking supply.

In 2009, under rising media and community pressure, then premier Anna Bligh said the water would not be used until dam levels fell to 40 per cent.

“It’s a sad story,” said Professor Khan.

“But I think that it’s very clear that that is Brisbane’s next water supply. It’s built and it’s ready to go, so there’s no doubt about it, that’s where Brisbane’s going to go as the population grows.”

River cities are already using a form of recycled water

The terminology might be different, but if you live in a part of Australia that uses a river as a water supply such as Adelaide, you are drinking a form of recycled water anyway.

“If you look at the Thames in London, every town and city on the Thames including London puts its treated wastewater into that river and they pull water out of it to drink,” Ms Murphy said.

“So, anecdotally, if you have a glass of water in London, it’s been through six sets of kidneys before it gets to yours. But no one calls that recycling because it’s going through a river.”

But talk of drinking recycled effluent has been seen as political kryptonite outside of Western Australia.

Despite the technology advantages, it is still the policy of many Australian governments not to investigate the use of recycled water going forward.

[st

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In fact, in 2013 Sydney Water received a public slap down from then NSW premier Barry O’Farrell for even contributing money to researching it.

Adam Lovell said that stance was threatening urban water security as Australia’s population swells.

“We need to see removal of policy barriers to potable reuse,” said Adam Lovell.

“It is happening, the technology is there…potable reuse happens right now for many millions of people around the world. All options should be on the table.”

Sue Murphy, the woman responsible for selling toilet to tap to Perth residents, said she was in no position to tell other jurisdictions what to do.

“However, I think the community are much smarter than what sometimes governments give them credit for,” she mused.

 

 

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-19/drinking-recycled-water/9546900

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POORLY PLANNED WESTERN SYDNEY HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS ‘CONTAMINATING WATER SUPPLY’

Poorly planned Western Sydney housing developments ‘contaminating water supply’

POOR housing developments in Western Sydney are contaminating the water supply and could contribute to a citywide shortage in future, NSW government documents warn.

Sydney’s booming population is putting increasing pressure on the water system.
Sydney’s booming population is putting increasing pressure on the water system.

 

POORLY planned housing developments in Western Sydney are contaminating the water supply and could contribute to a citywide shortage in future, NSW government documents warn.

Documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph can reveal WaterNSW and Sydney Water have voiced concerns that Sydney’s urban sprawl and booming population are putting increasing pressure on the water system, and steps need to be urgently taken to ensure Sydney is not hit by a water shortage.

WaterNSW has also revealed that housing developments built too close to pipelines and canals in Western Sydney have “already resulted in impacts to the water quality”. “Increasing urbanisation, particularly in western and southwestern Sydney, have resulted in increased pressure on the integrity of critical water supply infrastructure, namely the Warragamba Pipeline and the Upper Canal,” the documents state.

WaterNSW and Sydney Water have voiced concerns that Sydney’s urban sprawl.

 

They also warn the Upper Canal — one of the state’s most critical pieces of water infrastructure — may need to be replaced because of its age.

WaterNSW says that housing and land developments need to start considering the impact building is having on water supply. It is investigating “water augmentation strategies” to service the booming population.

Sydney Water documents state that it wants utilities to have a bigger say in planning decisions to improve the delivery of infrastructure.

 

Dr Ian Wright, senior lecturer at Western Sydney University, said that whenever housing developments were built too close to canals there was a risk the water could be contaminated by waste and debris. “You want sewage and drinking water far away from each other,” he said

Housing and land developments need to start considering the impact building is having on water supply.

 

Dr Wright said the documents were a “plea for help” from WaterNSW.

He said continuing urban sprawl would place more pressure on water supply.

Resources, Energy and Utilities Minister Don Harwin said the Greater Sydney Commission was working to develop regional plans which would allow better co-ordination in development.

“Drinking water in Sydney is world class and the government wants to keep it that way as we grow,” he said. “I’m keen to avoid augmentation where possible and that’s why we are exploring water conservation and efficiency measures to avoid the need for new supply.”

 

Opposition water spokesman Chris Minns said the government needed to reinvest in critical water infrastructure.

 

 

SOURCE:  https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/poorly-planned-western-sydney-housing-developments-contaminating-water-supply/news-story/85f2f950603c558270ab8965e38eba4f

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BILLIONAIRE BUSINESSMAN LAUNCHES LEGAL ACTION TO KEEP ORIGIN ENERGY FRACKING OFF NT CATTLE STATION

 

What a man, eh? Obviously we need more of them …

-sure he’s about making money but …

-he sees the big picture

-he recognises there is a lot at stake

-the gas extraction industry doesn’t have a faultless past

LET’s hope he wins!

 

 

BILLIONAIRE BUSINESSMAN … launches legal action to keep ORIGIN ENERGY fracking off NT cattle station

23 JUNE 2019

 

 

A billionaire businessman has launched court action against Origin Energy over its plan for gas exploration on a Northern Territory cattle station.

Key points:

  • Retail magnate Brett Blundy and his business partners are alleging Origin Energy failed to carry out adequate stakeholder engagement
  • Amungee Mungee station owners are seeking to halt government approval processes
  • Origin Energy says it wants to work constructively with station owners

 

Retail magnate Brett Blundy’s company BB Retail Capital and co-owners Bullwaddy Pastoral Co are accusing the gas company of not properly consulting them about the environmental risks associated with the planned “test fracking” operation.

They’re seeking to stop the NT Government from approving test fracking on part of the station, in the first case of its kind for the Territory.

Mr Blundy has invested millions of dollars into buying and developing several NT stationsincluding Amungee Mungee, near Daly Waters, 600 kilometres south of Darwin.

In 2013, he invested $6.5 million for the 320,000-hectare station. He also owns two other nearby cattle stations, OT Downs and Mungabroom.

The station hosted Origin Energy’s first test well in 2016.

That generated the gas industry’s excitement about the Beetaloo Basin region, and predictions the area contains enough gas to power Australia for 200 years.

But since the Territory Labor Government’s three-year moratorium on fracking was lifted in April, the relationship has soured.

Inadequate response time alleged

BB Retail Capital and Bullwaddy Pastoral Co, owned by Katherine pastoralists Adrian and Emma Brown, are trying to force Origin Energy to admit it hasn’t properly carried out legally required stakeholder engagement.

The station owners have alleged the gas company didn’t give them time to respond to the anticipated environmental risks of fracking.

In launching the Supreme Court action, they are also seeking to prevent the Territory Government considering or approving Origin’s test fracking plan.

 

 

Origin Energy has told the ABC it has been discussing its plans for work on Amungee station for almost 12 months.

“Origin previously reached agreement to access the same property, for similar activities, and had no issues either in reaching an agreement or in the execution of our work,” the company said.

“Our desire is always to work constructively to finalise an agreement about access to the property.”

‘Sign of things to come’: Antifracking group

Lauren Mellor from the anti-fracking group Protect Country Alliance said she was not surprised the case had been launched a few weeks after the Government finalised its fracking Code of Practice, effectively giving the green light for exploration to resume.

“I think this is a sign of things to come,” she said.

“It’s really concerning that it’s happening within weeks of the approval of the first fracking wells.”

The NT Cattlemen’s Association said many pastoralists were becoming concerned.

 

 

“They’re being asked to grant access for a whole series of regulated activities without knowing the full detail of the environmental impacts,” NT Cattlemen’s Association CEO Ashley Manicaros said.

He said cattle producers wanted clarity on how gas companies planned to prevent a whole range of potential impacts.

“There is biosecurity associated to weeds. There are also impacts on infrastructure, and also the issue of what water they will use,” Mr Manicaros said.

The Cattlemen’s Association is calling on the NT Government to immediately pass laws it promised which would force gas companies to sign access agreements with pastoralists.

“They want to actually see that in place so they can actually negotiate with some level of certainty,” he said.

Territory Government refuses to comment

The Territory Government would not comment on the Amungee Mungee case.

But it has responded to the concerns of the region’s cattlemen by saying it would pass land access agreement laws by the end of the year.

“Our Government has made it very clear to the gas industry that they must earn their social licence to operate in the Territory,” a spokesman for Environment Minister Eva Lawler said.

“All gas companies who seek to explore in the Territory must demonstrate compliance with the existing regulations in relation to stakeholder engagement.”

 

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-23/billionaire-businessman-takes-on-origin-energy-supreme-court-nt/11237598

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‘Reckless’: Farmers left high and dry after Murray River water goes missing 

DESPITE all the evidence … the Farrer constituents and their neighbours voted for the return of Sussan Ley and Barnaby Joyce!  Ms Ley is now Environment Minister!

-‘the nasty party’ voted against the Banking Royal Commission which later proved how banks were ripping off farmers …

-water from Eildon Lake will be going to almond farms; not to supply drinking water for Adelaide

-what of Barnaby Joyce, Angus Taylor and the Water Buyback?

 

 

 

‘Reckless’: Farmers left high and dry after Murray River water goes missing

Updated 17 June 2019

 

Reece Glenn at the Barmah Choke. Photo: Kerry Brewster
COMMENT

An extraordinary amount of deliberately “lost” water – the volume of Sydney Harbour – is being blamed for the extreme hardship faced by hundreds of Murray River farmers struggling to survive on zero water allocations.

Reece Glenn, a small irrigator who has worked his property at Mathoura, in the Murray Valley between Echuca and Deniliquin, since 1946, is one of countless family businesses driven near bankruptcy, a result he says of the “reckless mismanagement” of the Murray.

“I’m disgusted they pushed so much water down, knowing a lot of it would be wasted,” Mr Glenn said.

“The almond farmers downstream have the deep pockets. They come first. All us smaller operators are cast aside.”

In the midst of a drought, the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) released high volumes from the Hume Dam for five months until January to deliver water bought by large-scale, mostly foreign-owned, almond plantations near South Australia.

Over 141 days, prolonged flooding at the narrow ‘Barmah Choke’ sent a reported 536 megalitres into the Barmah forest, an “icon site” of river red gums, protected under the international Ramsar Convention.

“While everyone else in the basin was dealing with drought, the MDBA created a flood and lost large volumes of water,” said Maryanne Slattery, senior water researcher for The Australia Institute.

According to the progressive think tank, whose calculations using river-flow data are contained in its latest scathing report of water management, the MDBA’s decision to prioritise almond plantations damaged the forest and significantly reduced the amount of water available for production.

It left hundreds of NSW general security water users including rice, grain and dairy farmers with zero water allocations.

“We estimate an allocation of between 16 per cent and 61 per cent could have been possible had the MDBA complied with its official objectives and outcomes,” Ms Slattery said.

The financial impact on hundreds of small irrigators and their dependent communities has been huge, with the drought forcing up the price of water on the temporary market to record levels.

“We can’t compete. It’s over for us,” Mr Glenn said. “I’m ready to quit.”

The 300-strong Wakool Landholders Association of Victoria claimed the MDBA is also ignoring the environmental impacts of pushing too much water through narrow sections of river.

“In its rush to deliver water downstream to permanent plantings, the MDBA has shown no concern for efficiency of delivery or environmental damage. It has increased carp numbers and salinity and decimated native flora and fauna,” the association’s chair Darcy Hare said.

The flooding of Australia’s largest river red gum forest during one of the hottest summers on record conflicted with the MDBA’s obligation to protect what it regards as one of the most ecologically valuable sites in the basin.

Critics say it has done significant damage.

“It cued annual bird breeding at the wrong time so young birds couldn’t grow to fledglings and leave their nests”, says Chris Norman, CEO of Victoria’s Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA), which manages environmental water for the benefit of the Goulburn, Murray and Broken rivers.

“The forest needs winter/spring flooding to generate its unique Moira grass growth and stimulate bird feeding and breeding. Inundating the grass over summer drowns the seeds.”

The same concerns are shared by environment groups.

“This very important site has been degraded. The unique grass is going. New red gums and rushes are moving in to replace it. This is a direct result of the MDBA putting unsustainable water trade above all else,” Environment Victoria’s Juliet Le Feuvre said.

Under the Ramsar Convention, Australia must report threats to the unique ecological character of a listed wetland.

But the responsible body, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, claims the forest benefited from extra water it received in 2018.

On the nearby Goulburn River there’s no dispute over the negative impacts of similar high summer flows from the Eildon reservoir.

The Barmah Choke. Photo: Kerry Brewster

 

The damage there was recently inspected by Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville, as pressure mounts on her government to do something about what is widely acknowledged as an unsustainable water trade.

“Eight years of good work – growing bank vegetation for stability and stimulating insect growth for fish-breeding – has virtually been wiped out,” Mr Norman said.

“Everything we’ve done to improve the Goulburn since the millennium drought has been overridden by the need to get consumptive water downstream. It has put us back eight years.”

Pressure on the Murray and Goulburn rivers will increase when thousands of young almond trees reach maturity and require four times more water.

 

Last week the rice producer Sunrice described the escalation of almond and other permanent tree crop plantings as “illogical” and “unsustainable”.

Even the Almond Board, the peak industry body, has called for a moratorium on new plantations.

“It’s a disaster in the making. No one thought through the almond business model,” Ms Le Feuvre said.

“Victoria’s rivers don’t have the water and will have less in the future under climate change predictions.”

 

 

SOURCE:  https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/state/nsw/2019/06/16/murray-river-missing-water/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morning%20News%20-%2020190617

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LAND CLEARING RATES ROCKETED IN YEAR BEFORE NSW LAWS WERE LOOSENED

  • Land-clearing rates rocketed in year before NSW laws were loosened

 

Land-clearing in NSW jumped in the year prior to the introduction of native vegetation laws, with one region recording a 40-fold surge in the removal of woody land cover, new government data shows.

Some 20,200 hectares were cleared for crops, pasture or thinning – or about 70 times the size of Sydney’s central business district – in the 2016-17 year, according to information provided to the Herald under freedom of information laws. That rate was more than twice the annual average over the previous seven years.

Illegal clearing in north-west NSW; rates of native vegetation destruction ramped up in the two years to June 2017.
Illegal clearing in north-west NSW; rates of native vegetation destruction ramped up in the two years to June 2017.

 

Forestry also accelerated in 2016-17, rising two-thirds compared with the average from 2009-10.

The state’s north and west dominated the clearing rates, with the Wentworth local government area in the Riverina registering the fastest increase. Woody vegetation cleared for crops, pasture or thinning leapt to 4454 hectares, up from an average of 112 hectares during the years from mid-2009 to mid-2016, the satellite-sourced data shows.

 

VIEW SOURCE LINK FOR CHART!

The data did not identify if any of the clearing was illegal.

‘Very concerning’

Adam Marshall, the NSW Agricultural Minister, attributed the rise in clearing in part to farmers making use of rights to clearing land that were due to end when the new laws were introduced in August 2017.

“These [2016-17] figures relate to clearing rates under old legislation that was repealed after an independent panel found it to be ineffective in improving biodiversity outcomes,” Mr Marshall said, adding 122,000 hectares were conserved elsewhere in the state that year.

Penny Sharpe, Labor’s acting leader, said the land-clearing was “very concerning and needs urgent attention” from the Environment Minister, Matt Kean.

Mr Kean said he understood “people care deeply about conserving our natural landscapes – I do too”.

But biodiversity protection relied “on both public and private land conservation”, he said. The Berejiklian government plans to invest $350 million over five years, and its Biodiversity Conservation Trust had invested $55 million in a little over a year to support 84 agreements with land holders covering 19,000 hectares.

Farmers had been advocating the repeal of native vegetation laws for two decades before they succeeded with the Berejiklian government passing new rules  in mid-2017.
Farmers had been advocating the repeal of native vegetation laws for two decades before they succeeded with the Berejiklian government passing new rules in mid-2017.

‘Perverse outcomes’

Bronwyn Petrie, a beef grazier from Tenterfield and spokeswoman for NSW Farmers, said much of the clearing involved invasive native species or regrowth. Some farmers also “took advantage of better prices” to remove vegetation within their rights.

Ms Petrie said the old laws led “to a lot of really perverse environment outcomes”, and farmers “have waited a long time to get commonsense” vegetation laws.

But environmental groups took a different view, with Kate Smolski – chief executive of NSW Nature Conservation Council – saying the new figures were “more damning evidence that under Premier Berejiklian deforestation and land clearing are out of control”.

“This was just large agribusinesses warming up their bulldozers and chainsaws in anticipation of the new relaxed regime, safe in the knowledge they wouldn’t be held to account for their destruction,” Ms Smolski said.

Oisin Sweeney from the National Parks Association said the figures were also “worrying” because they showed increases in canopy loss to logging in coastal region “even before the impacts of new logging laws passed in late 2018 are apparent”.

“These laws provide for a much greater intensity of logging – including in areas that have been protected for decades,” Dr Sweeney said.

Martine Maron, a biodiversity expert at the University of Queensland, said the surge in clearing before laws were loosened had also been seen in Queensland ahead of weakening of native vegetation protection by the Campbell Newman government.

“It comes with costs – further loss of woodland and forest contributes to the pressures on our already-imperilled biodiversity, emits carbon which increases the cost to society of limiting global warming, and contributes to worsening drought, topsoil loss and water quality decline,” Professor Maron said.

 

Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

 

 

SOURCE:  https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/land-clearing-rates-rocketed-in-year-before-nsw-laws-were-loosened-20190531-p51t4x.html#comments

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