Category Archives: Water

Australian Government understating Perth catchment rain

Following above average rain in May-June-July over Perth dam catchments I was puzzled that I had seen an Australian Govt Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) rep speaking on TV late in July saying that while July rain was good May had been dry and June very dry.

In fact long term stations representative of the catchments region received a solid 108% of the May-June-July rain averaged over the last 32 years. This will not be reported in the media.

See various links at: Profligate Govt waste of water following average catchment rain

Seawater desalination questions

Anyone reading my blog knows I think the Western Australian Government has been very premature in opting for very expensive and high environmental impact seawater desalination to augment Perth water supplies when several other vastly cheaper options are available to harvest free rainwater in both dams and local rivers or local Perth region groundwater.

Just quickly to recap the three main areas where supplies could be augmented much cheaper than seawater desalination.

  • Managing bush in dam catchments as it was done ten years ago could add 100 GL per year on average.
  • Cutting the Gnangara pines forthwith and replacing them with a mix of native vegetation and housing could add a similar amount to annual pumping potential on the Gnangara Mound groundwater.
  • The Avon and Murray rivers could easily supply up to say 75 GL per year of slightly saline water which could augment the Agritech Wellington Dam desalination project to around 100 GL per year.

OK ! Have I made my point that turning to ultra-expensive seawater desalination for Perth was totally unnecessary ? In other words, another HUGE COSTLY GOVT MISTAKE.

Now some questions that puzzle me about the current situation.

  • We have a foreign company (or companies ?) engaged in doing multi-billion dollar business (must total $5 to 10 Billion now) with three or four State Governments and yet how many people knows who this company is ?
  • What appears in the Australian media about the foreign desalination company(ies) ?
  • Do they say anything in public in their own right ?

I have been told by a academic water expert from a prestigious Perth university, the sort of place the media contact for quotes on water stories, that “..the technology for desalination is moving forward at an unbelievable rate..”.

Yet the WA Govt. Water Corporation say water from our first seawater desalination plant at Kwinana costs $1.20 per kilolitre but water from the proposed Binningup plant will cost $2.00 per kilolitre. Both water factories are planned to output 45 GL or potable water per year.

Put another way, the Kwinana plant with cost over-runs has cost nearly $500 Million but the proposed Binningup plant is estimated already to be ~$1Billion, over-runs still to come. Are seawater desalination construction costs sky-rocketing like this around the world ?

I am also interested to learn if the proposed $1 Billion Binningup plant was put out for international tender ?

Another issue puzzles me and that is who has been behind the concept that has been floated often in our media in recent years and was even the subject of a referendum in Toowoomba, SE Queensland. This notion that our water shortage is so acute that in some communities we could be forced to drink treated sewage. I am fascinated to learn who has been driving these media campaigns.

Enough questions for now.

Perth is not running out of water, water is running out of Perth

Recent TV news about ample river flows for the Avon Descent white water boat race near Perth, Western Australia, raise an interesting question. The Avon River joins the Swan River and runs right through the centre of Perth.

Perth has a water shortage, water users are on restrictions, water prices are sky-rocketing from 16 cents per kilolitre to $2 per kilolitre, so why is this water wasting to sea in the Swan River, right through the heart of Perth. Amazing that there is not ONE word in the media joining the dots between the abundant water in the Avon, wasting to sea and the Perth water crisis.

Weird hey ? Continue reading Perth is not running out of water, water is running out of Perth

Colossal Govt. waste of free rainfall

May to July rainfall in Perth dam catchments has been just over average going by data from the BoM stations: Mundaring, Karnet and Dwellingup. Taking an average of the 3 BoM stations, 561 mm has fallen over the 3500 sq kms of catchments meaning that 1,963 GL of water has fallen free from the skies.

From my graphic showing the drastic decline in catchment yields since the mid 1990’s, we can see that current yields are ~3%.
Continue reading Colossal Govt. waste of free rainfall

W.A. Govt propaganda takes water supply “post rain”

In full page newspaper advertisements in Perth on the 7th and 8th of July the Western Australian government controlled water Authority, Water Corporation, published this graphic with a blue trendline (Govt. statistical experts say 1960-2006 average ??) showing water supply from rain ending in about a decade from now.
WA Govt Perth dam inflow and 1960-2006  trend
Continue reading W.A. Govt propaganda takes water supply “post rain”

Politician speaks truth

Tim Blair reports how the NSW Treasurer Michael Costa, in the NSW Upper House, referred to Dr Tim Flannery as an idiot. I would say that if you are going to run around making pro IPCC, doomster predictions knocking the idea that rain will fill dams, influencing national policy, then when the opposite happens, you have to wear it.

The NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa, has called Tim Flannery an “idiot” …

Mr Costa, a renowned climate change sceptic, made his comments in question time in the Legislative Council, saying the environmental campaigner Mr Flannery was wrong to say that dams were going to dry up because of climate change.

Mr Costa referred to “idiots like Tim Flannery saying it’ll never rain” as he launched into a tirade against the theory of greenhouse gases.

He said Mr Flannery and others continually came up with “ridiculous propositions” and told Coalition MPs he would not have appointed Mr Flannery Australian of the Year.


Note on the Gippsland floods

I love seeing the Victorian Premier Bracks on morning TV, fresh from approving a giant, money wasting $3.1Billion seawater desalination plant at Wonthaggi, now prattling on about GL here and there as though he is an expert in dams, river flows, whatever. Pathetic. Fresh from just doubling water prices too.

Remember that Greens and weak kneed politicians killed the proposal for a dam on the Mitchell. Will anyone calculate the value of the water wasting to sea down the Mitchell river, at the cost of water from the proposed Wonthaggi desal plant ? I think it is a non PC calculation that I might eventually have to do.

West Australian Premier talks utter nonsense about rainfall

These quotes are from Hansard for Question time in the WA Legislative Assembly, Thursday 17 May 2007. Note, Hansard is the Australian Parliamentary transcripts, or diary.

Mr A.J. CARPENTER (WA Premier): “..It has stopped raining in the south west of Western Australia. The rain no longer falls from the sky in sufficient quantities to fill the dams to fill the pipes to fill the cups for people to drink…”

The Premier was answering a question which included the Agritech proposal to produce water for Perth from Wellington Dam, full text is reproduced below.

Data for this graphic is from the WA Govt WaterCorp website.
Wellington Dam storage levels

NOTE: Wellington Dam (just west of Collie in SW WA) overflowed in 2005 and near overflowed in 2006, despite the low rainfall that year. In most years WaterCorp releases several tens of GL of water from the foot of the dam to reduce salinity. This water now wasted and other available water would be the basis for Agritech’s proposal to supply water to Perth see: www.agritechsmartwater.com.au/

To see several graphics putting SW WA rainfall in perspective with catchment flows and Govt policy, click here.
Continue reading West Australian Premier talks utter nonsense about rainfall

BoM rain predictions “totally useless”

We are talking here about the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) “National Seasonal Rainfall Outlook”. The BoM produces these predictive maps every month looking ahead for the next three months. I have for some years been critical that these Outlook maps are too often grossly wrong when compared to the rain anomaly maps National Seasonal Rainfall Outlook produced by the BoM, 100 days or more later of course.
See my pages where Outlook maps are juxtaposed with real world rain anomalies. The quote of “totally useless” in my post headline comes from an article on ABC Online news, ABC being our Govt. owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Continue reading BoM rain predictions “totally useless”