From Hansard 20268 26Feb18
On page 11 – Senator URQUHART: What are the most authoritative climate change impacts for Australia’s regions?
Dr Johnson: We know that probably the most well-established trend is the drying trend in south-western Australia. We know that since 1970 that there has been a very significant drying trend in south-western Australia.
We know, and we are observing, that there is a drying trend in the south-east of Australia as well. For other parts of Australia, the signal is not as strong.
IMHO the BoM is stunningly misleading to say “For other parts of Australia, the signal is not as strong.”
A truthful statement would be along lines – “..for about half of Australia the 1970-2017 rainfall trend is increasing – getting wetter..”. To leave no doubt whatsoever you could say that from 1900-2017 the vast majority of Australia is getting wetter.
In view that the BoM choose exactly to inform Estimates about SW WA it was also less than fully honest to fail to mention that region has just seen two cool summers in a row.
Here is a 3rd instance where BoM could have informed Estimates better.
On top page 15 BoM says “Yes, it’s amazing the way that rainfall works in Australia. We’ve seen on a number of occasions, and Canberra being yesterday, that we can quickly go from below average over time to above average in about three hours.”
Instead of using silly unscientific words such as “amazing” perhaps a more rational organization might have pointed out to Estimates that Canberra and region experienced widespread floods exactly 6 years ago at the start of March 2012 when 179.6mm rain fell over 5 days.
It is an often heard Australian opinion – somebody will say “Oh Eastern States desal plants have been a waste of taxpayers dollars but desal was essential for Perth”.
Not so!! Facts are that many cheaper actions could have been taken by the WA Govt in 2001 to find 150GL of water PA and avoid building the desalination plants. There never was a water shortage in Perth to make seawater desal imperative. Here are some of the actions that could have been taken as early as 2001 when the new Labor Govt made a big deal about one dry year. Both sides of politics should have argued the case with Greens that this package of measures had far less impact than energy intensive seawater desal. Premier Gallop and other politicians should not have woven a populist but dodgy story exaggerating rainfall decline.
Here is what could have been done in 2001.
 Get the best forestry advice and make a start managing catchment bush (press from 2002) to increase dam inflows for subsequent years. 94GL flowed into dams in 2017 despite over 20 years of catchment bush growth. The yield was 3% and that could easily be doubled with sensible catchment management run by forestry experts. Wow the extra water = Binningup desal!!
 Cut the Gnangara Pines and sell the timber – the timber was nowhere near as valuable as the groundwater the pines were suppressing. Labor had some sacred plan for a plywood factory. Replant the reserves with native bush – improve the Gnangara Mound water resource – point out this expansion of native bush to Greens.
 Begin exploiting the deeper Yarragadee groundwater – ignore “dog in the manger” whining from SW towns – the resource there is vast.
 Build the Agritech project to desalinate ~45GL PA of saline Wellington Dam water (~1/sixth saline as seawater) that was and has been wasted to the sea every year.
 Look to rivers such as the Swan, Murray, Harvey to site small dams to source saline water for desal parallel to the Agritech project. SW rivers waste ~1,000GL of weakly saline water to the sea every year – a minor proportion could be desalinated as demand required.
1 and 2 would have eliminated the immediate need for the Kwinana seawater desal and 3, 4 & 5 would have replaced Binningup and taken care of expansion out past 2020.
 Looking further ahead the Agritech wheatbelt salinity reduction project with canals draining saline wheatbelt water to the coast – that water could be desalinated as required – on a scale of a doubling of the Perth water supply as well as steadily restoring wheatbelt land.
See – Perth is not running out of water – water is running out of Perth.
How easily this huge myth can be slayed. So now we see that ALL Australian capital city seawater desal plants are a colossal waste of taxpayers money.
Watching Senate Estimates today swamped with Dorothy Dixers to the BoM it seems obvious somebody has cooked up a GreenLeft song sheet that we will hear more about in weeks months ahead. An example – Could a Cape Town happen here? The Australian cities running out of water 17Feb18
Highest ever Feb flows of 150GL – data from 1977. Highest annual flow since 2000 – 240.8GL.
All of which wastes to the sea. In recent summer months there has been significant rainfall in SW WA – Jan 2016 heaviest in the SW – I blogged on that – Jan 2017 – Then Feb 2017 where I blogged again – and the ABC reported – Now we have Jan 2018 where most Perth dam catchments saw over 100mm on the 16th. I have not seen where Water Corporation recorded any dam inflows or increased levels from the above rain.
In 2014 an ACT Govt. grant assisted the production of a drama in Canberra – “Kill Climate Deniers”. For some history see my top three blogs here – after 2014 the whole KCD thing abated and went quiet – we now know KCD has been just hibernating. Shows start Friday at the SBW Theatre in Sydney and could run into April.
The hypocrisy is obvious when you compare the GreenLeft media outrage at George Christensen’s joke on lines from Dirty Harry – where even PM Turnbull felt compelled to chime in. But advocate killing and hey that’s no worries.
I have just checked the stunning Broome rain data for this year – so far within 30mm of the all time highest annual rain total by the 18th of February.
Broome PO 3002 has data from 1890 to 1952 and 1896 saw the record ann max rain of 1,094mm.
Broome Airport 3003 has data from 1939 and the ann max was 1,496 in 2000 making the all time record.
In 2018 Broome Airport has seen 915.6mm in Jan and so far in Feb 551 which makes 1,466.6 – so 29.4mm to equal the all time annual rain record. I can not recall seeing a rain record smashed like this. Can anybody recall an annual rain record smashed during February?
This ABC report on an AFL match at Drummoyne Fri evening 9 Feb mentions it was interrupted by a “huge” storm with heavy rain.
Odd that a storm such as reported slips through the Sydney rain gauge network.
If anybody has other rain data or observations please pass on.
Imagine what rain must be missed out in the wide brown land.
Here is the Terrey Hills radar ex Oscilmet I chose the loop from 3pm to 8pm 9Feb18 – the times on the loop are in UTC – the little rain centres move rapidly. The one that hit Drummoyne is fairly clear. I think they only archive for 2 weeks.
This ABC article trying to justify seawater desalination sums up how so much damage has been done to Australian water policy over two decades. From the very first sentence “Perth’s desalination plant has been a lifesaver..”. What utter rubbish –
1 – Perth dam catchments bush could have been managed to release more dam inflows –
2 – The Gnangara Pines should have been immediately cut to increase aquifer recharge.
3 – The SW Yarragadee deep aquifer could have easily made up any Perth shortfall and any drawdown would hardly be noticed as SW WA aquifers waste water to the sea constantly.
4 – There are also large quantities ~1,000GL of weakly saline river water wasting to the sea every year in SW WA and a small fraction could be more cheaply desalinated than seawater.
5 – The Agritech Wellington Dam project should have been the starting point for 4.
Perth was never running out of water – water has been running out of Perth.
Back to the ABC article – so these top climate scientists are saying that GCM’s are proving that increasing carbon dioxide driven climate change is causing the decline in SW WA rain. OK say we grant them that. Then how do we/they explain the increase in rain at various periods in the history of various Australian States and regions? Did CO2 do that too? The 14 BoM charts show that Australian rain has increased over a century and that most States and regions enjoy a wetter climate now than they did before 1950. How can anybody cherry pick the SW WA declining rain and say – Ah, that must be caused by IPCC Climate Change? I never hear any climate scientist say “the increase in rain from 1970 in many Australian regions must be caused by IPCC CO2 driven climate change”. I think a more rational view of Australian rainfall history would recognise – most of Australia is most often more dry than we humans would like. The 14 charts show with clarity that rainfall varies on decadal and sub decadal scales, often appearing to be cyclic, in different ways at different times in various regions for reasons we know little about – but we can opine and theorise.
In recent years the stellar career of NSW Labor “Main Man” Eddie Obeid over three decades has tended to dazzle aficionados of Govt. corruption in Australia. However we must not forget that at about the same time in the 1980’s that Eddie Obeid was an up and coming Labor figure; Perth enjoyed a flowering of corrupt Govt. and business leaders known now as “WA Inc”. In a distant age I downloaded audio files of phone taps from the WA Corruption and
Crime Commission(CCC) – there is much to smile at as the various corrupt eager beavers share their adventures. Remember too that the Julia Gillard/Bruce Wilson AWU scandal birthed while WA Inc was still a very fresh memory.