Category Archives: Water

BoM rain data for Wellington Dam catchment – a valuable large dam that should be more utilized

Here is a map of all rain stations in the Wellington Dam catchment – marked by the green line. You can make your own map at CDO
Once you have the map scaled to where you want – if you left click on the station dots, a link to the daily data pops up.
Wellington Dam was built by the Commonwealth in 1933 and enlarged in 1956 – it has the largest catchment in the South West and the second largest in Western Australia at ~2,500 square kms (after Ord River Dam) – and is fed by the Collie River. Combined Perth water supply catchments are ~3,500 squ kms.

The rain data I obtained from the above map is summed up here.

Wellington Dam has salinity problems due to over clearing and the water is little utilized by anybody now – Harvey irrigators have at times used some of the water and I have asked for the time series of that usage and it has not been emailed to me. Over a decade ago the Agritech consortium developed a proposal to desalinate the saline (~3,000ppm solids) wastewater from the dam and supply this to the Perth water supply. Various Govt water Depts and quangos have fought this proposal tooth and nail for years with the tenacity of a starving rottweiler defending a leg of beef. Alternative Govt proposals have been floated over a decade to utilize Wellington Dam water but nothing has come to fruition that I am aware of. Wellington Dam has overflowed in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014 – which should be embarrassing for the dog-in-the-manger WA Govt as much of this potentially useful water goes to waste. The Ancient Romans were better water managers than the WA Govt.

West Australian Govt Water Corporation fails to record March 2016 rain at several dams

March 2016 rainfall has been checked for a group of sixteen BoM stations listed below and the nine rain stations of Water Corporation from their dam sites. Five of the nine dam sites of Water Corporation registered zero or negligible rain for March. This is obviously in error and is amazingly negligent for an organization that has been preaching about “our drying climate”, bleating on how stream flows have near stopped, while neglecting to manage catchments for over a decade. Several BoM sites are slow to record daily data. The several sites where the same names are used by BoM and WA Govt seem to be different stations.

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Urban water policy 2006 – how have we gone so stupidly far up the cost curve?

Came across this neat chart from Nov 2006 –

look at all the expensive options policy makers have wasted and are wasting our tax dollars on. While in the case of Perth (Australian bellwether city for water policy) ignoring the standout cheapest option.
Another very cheap option could be included –
trimming back on pointless unnecessary “environmental flows”.
When you vote in two months time – why not try and vote for sensible water policies. You use water every day.

Australian Liberty Alliance talking water at election meetings in the NSW Riverina

This is a good sign for those communities – we need Senators who will vote for water supplies to people and water for irrigation. Our pioneers taxed themselves to build dams for people and irrigation – not to waste on environmental flows. At the next election vote ALA 1 – then your selected right of centre groups such as Family First & DLP – then Govt candidates – then Labor – always put Greens last.
To see the election meetings notices you might have to paste the link into your browser. Or use my Senators…link.

Friendly grilling for Perth Water Corporation at WA Parliament Estimates hearing

On 27 January 2016 the West Australian Parliament Legislative Council held an Estimates hearing with witnesses from the Govt owned Water Corporation. Scroll right down to “Water Corporation” 27 Jan 2016 and click on the bottom link – Transcript of hearing – for a 32p 325KB pdf.
Working through the 32 pages – four issues caught my eye.
In order – at the bottom of page 1 there is a question relating to the sale of the Engineering and Construction Services division of Water Corporation last year.
Hon ALANNA CLOHESY: What was the sale price?
You can read through the pages of obfuscations and stonewalling invoking irrelevant issues including privacy – then on page 4 look at the fifth clause down –
The CHAIR: Just whilst you are thinking of your next question, I just quickly googled, as you can these days. Your website shows a press release “Buyer chosen for Engineering and Construction Services”, and the opening paragraphs says the sale price is $10.4 million.
Cringeworthy indeed for the Water Corporation top people that news they announced to the world in August 2015 comes out like this. But they bounce onwards – upshot was the WC cleared about a paltry $2mill on the sale. Another disaster.
Perth media had this to say – Water Corp chair Eva Skira a director of company which bought its assets 21 Aug 2015

The second issue is that of leaking pipes raised in the question near bottom of page 8 – Hon RICK MAZZA: … As I was saying, a couple of years ago the Auditor General spoke about pipe leakage out of your 34 000 kilometres of pipes. Has there been any work done towards minimising losses?
They talk about this issue and that issue related to leaks for all page 9 but never put a quantity on it – despite media articles being available suggesting that 30GL or 66% of the production from the Kwinana desal plant could be lost through leaky pipes. (on top of that would be losses from evaporation when the expensive desal water is pumped to dams)

The third issue is the statement by Mrs Murphy the CEO of Water Corporation on page 15, fifth clause down one line from the end “….four of the last five years have been the driest ever. It appears to be getting an accelerating drying trend.”
I realise that the context is run-off but IMHO to say “….four of the last five years have been the driest ever.” is misleading without knowing the facts of catchment rainfall – see my chart – and without considering that run-off could be improved by catchment management. Clearly it is a nonsense statement where rainfall is concerned.
But nobody asks about rainfall. Silence.

The fourth issue I thought worth mentioning is near the top of page 21 the first Question after Mrs Murphy mentioned Wellington Dam at the bottom of page 20.
Hon RICK MAZZA: That dam does regularly overflow though; does it not?
Keystone Cops would have been proud of the replies.
Mrs Murphy: It does, but that is largely because the irrigators are not taking the water either because it is too salty.
Mr Moore: It did regularly overflow; it has not in recent years.
Mrs Murphy: A couple of years ago.
Hon RICK MAZZA let them off after not getting a coherent answer.

According to a 2014 Water Corporation Media Release – Wellington Dam has overflowed in 2014, 2013, 2009, 2008 and 2005. I think it was 2007 rather than 2008.
It all reinforces my belief that Perth water policies have for 15 or 20 years now been the worst in the developed world. The ancient Romans would have done far better for less cost.

Adelaide seawater desalination plant in the news during a wet month for most of South Australia

I saw this enigmatic headline on the ABC – Adelaide’s desalination plant considered a ‘tool’ to boost irrigation allocations during drought – I realize that desalination proponents have taken Australian water policy into the paranormal – but producing expensive desal water to be able to boost irrigation allocations at a time when few areas of SA would be in drought – takes the cake.
March rain to date