Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Strange sums and hallucinogenic water

The National Water Commission at www.water.gov.au and its somewhat optimistic world view.
According to Australian Water Resources 2005 data the following applies:
1. The Clarence River Surface Water Management Area is 22,670km2, with 17.42% of the area being specifically protected under existing legislation.
2. Sustainable water yield within this area is an estimated 69,291ML [2004/05].
3. Sustainable yield considers surface water/ground water interaction.
4. Regional water consumption for this area is an estimated 35,888ML per annum, being 55% agriculture, 26% household, 19% mining, manufacturing, forestry, fishing, sewerage, electricity and other.
The SMEC desktop study, endorsed by Messrs. Howard and Turnbull, recommends as preferred options taking 100,000ML per annum via a dam on either the Clarence River or the Mann River (a Clarence tributary) or, alternatively taking 50,000ML per annum via a weir on the Mann River.
Therefore the shortfall in sustainable yield is between 16,597ML and 66,597ML per annum.
Now that level of additional water extraction, as we enter the pronounced effects of global warming, would leave both Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour local government areas with no capacity to withstand climate change, accommodate our combined projected population increases, sustain local commercial fishing and tourism industries or guarantee environmental flows in the Clarence River system.
Even if every person, business and industry left the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour tomorrow, the sustainable yield shortfall would still be 30,709ML per annum.
One has to ask - does Canberra drinking water now contain hallucinogens?

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