Wednesday, 18 June 2008

NSW Nationals get ready to betray Northern Rivers over water security and energy

In an effort to differentiate themselves from the regionally unpopular Liberal Party, the NSW Nationals went to the support of their federal counterparts contesting the November 2007 federal election by promising that rivers on the NSW North Coast would be safe from water diversion schemes and backing away from calls to place commercial nuclear power plants in the Northern Rivers region.

Less than seven months later the story changes.
According to the Tweed Daily News, the Nationals NSW secretariat (at its conference last weekend) resolved to "support greater efforts to reduce eastern water lost to the ocean and more in-depth ways to turn water inland".

The party's newly elected vice-chair, Jeremy Challacombe from Grafton, tries to present himself as a new-style National but just parrots the same old line from party diehards on water and energy.
Indeed, in The Daily Examiner on Wednesday 18 June 2008 Mr. Challacombe had the gall to try and present the Lithgow-led push to once again try and grab Northern Rivers fresh water supplies as "the motion was more about better water management than river diversion".

Mr. Challacombe would be well aware that water in the Clarence catchment area (the principal target of would-be water raiders) is very well managed for sustainable outcomes.
His willingness to support investigation of "nuclear options" is also disappointing for many in the Northern Rivers region.

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Blogger foocat said...

I would be interested to read the article in the Daily Examiner where you claim Jeremy Challacombe said
"The Daily Examiner on Wednesday 18 June 2008 Mr. Challacombe had the gall to try and present the Lithgow-led push to once again try and grab Northern Rivers fresh water supplies as "the motion was more about better water management than river diversion".

as I have been unable to find it and wondered if you could post it here in your blog.


19 June 2008 at 10:44 am  
Blogger Judith M. Melville said...

Sorry, don't have a scanner at present.
However, The Daily Examiner issue for 18 June 2008 carried the quote "the motion was more about better water management than river diversion" on Page 3 in article by David Bancroft.
Hope that helps.

19 June 2008 at 11:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Damming in your river in your community will have all sorts of affects that havent been considered.
These affects are environmental and social and go on for ever. It is all very well for national and state bodies unaffected a long way away to make decisions about your river. The people of the Clarence need to be vigilant.

You would imagine that Dam infrastructure in Australia is safe - however our experience on the Burrum River in QLD shows just how easy it is to become a fatality when Dam Infrastructure fails.
Gates constructed in December 2007 at Lenthalls Dam on the heavily impounded Burrum River failed to lower to release flood water as designed in Febuary 2008.
Wide Bay Water was the constructing authority and responsible for the design and operation of the dam gate infrastructure.
Our upstream farm house, where the tributaries join the dam proper was cut of when flood water continued to back up much higher than the constructing authority Wide Bay Water had predicted the water levels would ever go.
Three family members were stuck at our farm house. The emergency evacuation plan found in the Lenthalls Dam Emergency Action Plan called for evacuation after water levels reached RL26.91 - water levels reached 27.4 at the dam wall flowing over the blocked gates and backed up to RL28.5 at our house. No one evacuated the famuily members stranded in rising water.
No one from the constructing authority Wide Bay Water contacted us to undertake evacuation or explain the risk we faced due to Crest Gate Failure.
We believe the CEO Tim Waldron was overseas at conference when the event happed. The Operations manuals for the dam place responsibilty with the CEO as does the action plan. He has not been called to account for his failure to take responsible action to ensure an evacuation would occur in his abscence if required.

If the rain event had not stopped the three people cut off at our flood impacted farm house would have been inundated by metres of water.

We heard about the dam failure from other locals close to the dam wall who had heard the gates have failed - we now have full evidence to verify the dam gate failure.

What our situation highlights is that while most fatalities from failed dams and failed dam infrastructure have occurred in the countries of the south ie third world the west is not imune from dam infrastructure failure.

The capacity of first world dam operators to manage infrastructure/ risk and operational and human failure is not consistent.
We were very lucky the rain event that caused the flooding to back up over the failed dam gate, stopped.
It is however only a matter of time before a dam infrastructure failure in the first world causes fatalities.
We feel that maybe operational and human failures that have occured without fatality have been coverd up and are not generally reported or researched.
It is likely constructing authorities keep these instances quiet.
Please see the small news article that did report the event ( not comprehensively).

See the article:
Resident fears dam gates risk flooding
Posted Wed May 21, 2008 8:26am AEST
Updated Wed May 21, 2008 8:25am AEST
• Map: Hervey Bay 4655
A land-holder upstream of a major dam south-west of Hervey Bay says multi-million dollar barriers on the storage are broken, putting her family at risk of flooding.
Queensland Deputy Premier Paul Lucas will officially open the $16 million project at Lenthalls Dam, which is designed to more than double the storage’s capacity.
In what is claimed to be an Australian first, the two metre high crest gates sink when the dam reaches capacity to prevent flooding upstream and provide for environmental flows.
But Esther Allan says in February the gates jammed, causing water to back up onto her property.
“This is an extremely expensive piece of infrastructure. Ratepayers paid for this and their expectation would be that it would be operable,” she said.
“If it wasn’t, we need to know why - not only because our family’s safety was put at risk, but because ratepayers expect to get a result from the infrastructure they pay for.”
The local government corporation that runs Lenthalls Dam says the gates do not work, but it was monitoring the rising water.
Wide Bay Water general manager David Wiskar says adjustments were needed during the dam’s commissioning and are continuing.
“The gates were all needing some fine-tuning. At the moment we were able to complete that tuning on three of the gates,” he said.
“There’s two that remain to be done, but we’re waiting until the level in the dam falls to an adequate level to [do] those final two.”
The Lenthalls Dam Gates are still not fully operational today September 2008 and heading into the QLD summer flood season.

We can evidence what we are saying.
We dont have too much faith that any government authority will maintain our saftey, and our economy is currently healthy and well economically resourced.

Infrastructure once built needs to be operable ongoing through good economic times and bad.

Climate change will provide more extreme flood events as well as extreme drought.

The people of Lithgow wont have to worry about any Clarence river dam failing when they take your water

The risks remain for all of those who live on dammed river systems.

6 September 2008 at 1:18 pm  

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