Category Archives: Water

University of Western Australia shuts down Centre for Water Research – on our fairly dry continent

I missed this last year – maybe WA people can help interpret in plain english. Top academic sacked and another demoted 5 April 2015
Professor Jorg Imberger on hiding to nothing – Opinion | Paul Murray
25 March 2015
Uni shuts water study centre – Daniel Mercer 23 March 2015
Professor in uni probe – Amanda Banks Legal Affairs Editor – 23 December 2014
I find it a curious juxtaposition that the Uni in Perth had a
Centre for Water Research
for decades – yet Perth will be famous for decommissioning water supply dam catchments which are blessed with an average of ~850mm per year May to Oct runoff season rainfall. Go figure.

Classic BoM assisted misleading media article on SW West Australian rainfall

The Albany Advertiser says – Albany breaks 137-year rainfall record – reading on we find that 2015 was the driest year in 137 years of records. The article says this is “…according to the bureau’s annual climate statement…” that is for WA. The Albany Advertiser does not tell you that Albany is the sole and lonely place listed as having “Record lowest annual total rainfall”.

So in all the huge area of WA only one BoM rainfall station out of about 2,200 odd in WA recorded the “Record lowest annual total rainfall”. And this of course was worthy of a media article because beating up bad news about rain has been an industry in Perth & SW WA for near a decade and a half. It is true of course that SW WA has seen declining rain over several decades – and WA Govt water authorities have lead the charge claiming that “climate change has taken our rain”. Yet this conveniently forgets the point that other areas – for example Northern Australia have experienced increased rain. So it is just as logical to say rain varies all the time at varying timescales in various regions and places and the reasons are likely as yet not fully understood by mankind

Perth water utility pleads for more water – the solutions to Perth water problems are not hard to grasp

Perth media runs this story – Utility pleads for more water
I have written on this subject for more than a decade – here are just two landmark examples.
[A] There never was a rain shortage to justify seawater desalination for Perth’s water supply – Dec 2007 download my 200KB 3 page pdf “Perth water supply catchments rain report Nov 07” Still covers main issues.
[B] Ongoing decline in efficiency of Perth Dam catchments – reply from WA Minister – May 2013 – Read what I wrote to Minister Marmion and his reply – he could not contradict my point that catchment management would increase runoff to dams.

Updating to 2015 rainfall the 5 year average rain 2011-2014 is about 850mm. Below is the latest chart of Perth catchments rainfall May-Oct rainfall 1980-2015 which shows CE (Catchment Efficiency) plunging to under 2%.

What the West Australian Government (and Labor Opposition) should be doing in respect of Perth water supply policy.
1. Over-ride Green objections and manage catchments as they were in the mid 1990’s thus increasing dam inflows by an amount of water about equal to production from two desalination factories (=90 GL Per year). See graphic of declining catchment yields above. Thinning of catchment bush can be done by experts with negligible adverse effects on wildlife values. Download 1 page pdf with chart showing results of thinning the Higgins catchment near Dwellingup – from 2005 Water Corporation report.
2. Cut the Gnangara pines forthwith – the value of the trees is way less than the value of the water they are suppressing. Sell the lumber and use the land for well planned urban areas – make a huge profit from well planned new suburbs and increase underground water pumping potential by about 100 GL per year, (UWA figures from 2002). Let both mounds recover over the decades ahead. GoogleEarth images show that between 2004 and 2015 significant areas of the pines have been cleared – that will assist recharge of the Gnangara mound underground water.
3. Abandon the risky plans to pump treated waste water into your precious shallow aquifers.
4. Take on board the Agritech proposal to desalinate brackish Wellington dam water but examine augmenting it to 100 GL per year by adding similar brackish water from the Murray or Avon where hundreds of GL flow to the sea every year.
5. After seeing the benefits from 1, 2, 3 & 4 above, progressively mothball both seawater desalination factories and save taxpayers mega $’s’.
6. Engage an expert US group to trial cloud seeding for a few run-off seasons – the cost is low compared to the large value of any incremental water in dams.
7. Stop lying to the public about rainfall – let the slogan “Our drying climate”pass into history where it belongs. Instruct Water Corporation to quote catchments rainfall on their www pages and NOT Perth rainfall which does not run into dams.
8. Instruct Water Corporation to get on with their job of harvesting available falling-from-the-sky-free natural water at the lowest cost possible for the benefit of the Perth and WA public.
9. If CE (Catchment Efficiency) was increased to 5.6% – hypothetically the 19 years 1997 to 2015 would have produced an extra 64GL each year on average – taking out the 4 poor years, 2001-2006-2010-2015.
If you take the last group of good years 2011-2014 incl. the loss is worse and 116GL PA is being lost. Now what is the value of this lost water? Is it near a $Billion PA?

Perth water utility pleads for more water yet our Governments can not reliably collect rain data

Perth media says – Utility pleads for more water – yet as this table of monthly rain data for Collie 9628 shows, there are several years since 2002 with missing months data. The record was perfect from 1901 to 2001 through world wars and depressions.

Then our modern Govts fail in recording such vital data for the nation. Amazing failure – see Mundaring Weir 9031 too – who cares – it is only free water from the sky that could run into dams already paid for – why bother to measure that – so passe. We clever people are in “Our Drying Climate” now.
Collie rain has relevance to the Wellington Dam Water Recovery Project by AgritechSmartwater – saved by the Wayback Machine. Agritech are revitalising their campaign – but the WA Govt has blocked their proposals for a decade now.

Worthwhile New Zealand rain reported as “a drop in bucket”

Another fascinating example of the baleful influence of climate change dogmas and useless Govt forecasting on normal media reporting standards.
By all accounts the rain was useful in many areas to freshen up grass and give feed growth a summer boost. A subtext is that the NIWA three month Outlooks predict dryer than normal conditions due El Nino – so rain sort of goes against that meme. I like the oracle quoted to explain how it rained because air moved from east to west.
I see another article – Urgent need to act on our water supplyWhaleoil is on to it. It seems anti-dam dogmas are rife in NZ and all manner of special interest groups get into the act to make a needed new dam even more impossible. When will water users start voting for an adequate water supply at an affordable price?

Syria rain history – I think they have other problems

Like many I noticed Prince Charles repeating the claim that climate change is responsible for the rise of Islamic State.
Looking for rain data history at KNMI Climate Explorer I found the only monthly data that made charts for Syria was the “monthly CRU TS3.23 precipitation Syria Index”.

and below expressed as anomalies

The BBC has an interesting Syria profile – Timeline on the last hundred years history of Syria. Andrew Bolt has a post on the story – The science says Prince Charles is a fool to blame global warming for the Islamic State – and Euan Mearns also has – Drought, Climate, War, Terrorism, and Syria.
Turkey has just shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter that was presumably annoying the Turkmen who live very close to the Syria-Turkey border and are no fans of President Assad. While all this is in motion the Kurds Peshmerga forces assisted by western airstrikes are methodically joining the dots towards a new Kurdistan in NE Syria and Iraq. What a maelstrom of diverse competing forces.

BoM rain Outlook for Nov 2015 fails comprehensively in six days

Issued only on 29th October – the BoM rain Outlook for November crashed and burnt by the time 20% of the month had passed on 6th Nov.

Current month to date rainfall percentages for Australia
This map below of rain percentages for 1st to 6th Nov 2015 shows that vast areas have already had more rain than the Outlook predicted –

and there is 80% of the month still to come – follow the 20% line .