Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Water lifeline meets resistance.

I should preface this rant by telling you I was brought up in the Shoalhaven.

Sydney is in the grip of a water crisis due to the drought, so Bob Carr has come up with the master plan to sort it all out - steal someone elses water.

It's not like the drought snuck up on us, this has been an ongoing issue for a number of years. It is short-sightedness and lack of political will to spend the bucks and come up with a plan that has led us here, and it will be vision and determination that will get us out. Unfortunately Bob Carr has none of these latter qualities.

The centrepiece of the government's plan to alleviate Sydney's acute water shortage is to build two new pipelines to pump water from the Tallawa Dam in the Shoalhaven to the Avon Dam and Warragamba Dam. This will provide an extra 18% of capacity per annum to Sydney's existing reserves.

Great, this is exactly what Sydney needs - more water to squander. The implication, of course, is that while Sydney has 18% more capacity, the people of the Shoalhaven have potentially 100% less capacity once Sydney sticks the big bendy straw into Tallawa and sucks the bastard dry. Tallawa Dam is, at present, 31% full, while Warragamba is 39% full. The Shoalhaven has been under more severe water restrictions than Sydney has for a lot longer, and now we're going to take what little else they have for our own needs?

Not only that, but it ignores the larger issue of the environmental impact of sucking up the annual flood of the Shoalhaven River. When I was a kid, Tallawa wasn't built. Every year the Shoalhaven would flood and every few years there would be a monster flood that would break the banks, inundate the flood plan and put the Boatshed under water. All part of nature's cycle, etc. After Tallawa was built the annual flood could be controlled and the monster, state of emergency floods became a thing of the past. I think the last big one was 1991.

Here's the thing - after the dam was built, the fish started disappearing. The river was dying because without the flood it would silt up, nutrients from upstream didn't arrive and the salt content rose dramatically. The paper mill, feed mill, etc, didn't help by adding their pollutants which had nowhere to go now but hang around in the river. The local authorities eventually worked out what was happening and released fresh water from the dam periodically to help keep the balance. Now the river is reasonably healthy again.

This will all be a thing of the past once the pipeline takes away the rivers lifeblood again.

My point is this - increasing available capacity won't solve a damn thing, pardon the pun. what happens in 10-20 years when that extra capacity is exhausted? Sydney has to start using the water is has more efficiently and effectively. Sydneysiders need to learn that water is a precious commodity, not something that runs endlessly from the nearest tap and costs $1 per thousand litres. I'm real sorry, but maybe it should cost two or three times that much. People need to accept that we live in a country that can't afford massive, lush, green lawns. My next door neighbour needs to wake up and realise that the concrete footpath doesn't need to be watered every day.

Not only that, but Sydney Water needs to start replacing some of its leaky old iron pipes that have been around since before the harbour bridge was built. We live on the coast, so salt water is plentiful, we have abundant sunshine and plenty of onshore winds, so alternative energy sources to run desalinisation plants are viable.

Of course, the plan won't go ahead if "the Shoalhaven's rainfall ...(decreases)... due to climate change, and the pipeline will not be built until 2009." To that statement I say - Bollocks. The Shoalhaven's rainfall has been falling for a number of years and I don't think it will make one drop of difference to the government's plan. By the time it's too late, it will be someone elses problem and in someone elses back garden.


At 2:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Undersigned Open Letter and River Alliance SMH
Saturday 24th September 2005

Esteem Stakeholders

Be it known you are interlopers in a battle over State Government Policy reform where your opinions are not wanted nor welcome.

This is the order you are given, depart from your opposition to a desalination plant.

Further, it has come to our attention that you maybe considering joining the rebels that where led by this Ms Fraser and her supports who are now skulking over their attempted uprising in our province of Macquarie Flanders.

Hence you are reminded that the flames of discontent have now been completely extinguished, as has this so called uprising been quashed.

You are reminded that this is not your fight. The Green movement should not be too concerned with our actions. Depart from your current standing with all haste. Failure to do so will result in chastisement even unto the death of your financial assistance.


Generalissimo Morris Iemma Santa Anna
Supreme Ruler of Neswespale

One thing I should probably state is that Santa Anna didn’t write this letter I did. I was wondering how I could best present the current situation. Naturally the old strategy has been to divide your enemies and then have them fight amounts themselves, distracting their attention from your objectives and then implementing what you want. This seems to have been quite successful over the last decade or so, therefore it would be logical to continue its pursuit.

Unfortunately there is perhaps one thing that has been forgotten. We live in a democratic society that has foundation stones comprising of many philosophies. So let’s just consider the following picture of a simplistic design such as a house. If the roof was represented by our Democratic system of Government, then consider each of the four main pillars holding up this roof as being extremely important.

With this in mind, we need the Green movement because it represents the Environment, the Nationals because they represent the farming communities, the Liberal’s as they represent the business sector and Labor that traditionally represents the families and workers.

Yet here we find in this argument over desalination, the Green movement raising its concerns in relation to our Environment, the Liberal’s saying that there is a better way, and the National’s supporting recycling. Yet Labor continues to ignore all aspects of even discussing the possibility of doing something major that would truly improve our future.

Perhaps we have reached a point in time where nothing is done anymore unless it either becomes life threatening or can bring a win fall of financial reward for a limited few.

I wish you every success in getting our new Premiers attention.

R. Edwards
Avoca Beach
Author of the Edwardshanlon proposal for water reform presented to the NSW IPART

At 11:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Chris, what lobbying have you done to change the attitude of people in the area where you live!

At 11:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Chris, what lobbying have you done to change the attitude of people in the area where you live!

Mr hanlon - co-author

At 11:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Edwards, the time has come for the heavy weights to enter and help, fear not for they are close to providing you with aid to carry the motion from across the boundary.

At 11:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

who is Generalissimo Morris Iemma Santa Anna
Supreme Ruler of Neswespale?

At 11:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

stand and delivery or stay out

At 12:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr edwards, you are not alone on your comments and much power is about to transfer to you.

the economist ,

At 12:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr edwards, you are not alone on your comments and much power is about to transfer to you.

the economist ,

At 12:17 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am coming to you aid....and its not for chris cross...................

At 7:50 am, Blogger Chris said...

What the...?


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