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Archive for the ‘Emergency’ Category

October emergency: dry, hot Murray Darling: no irrigation water, maybe no town or stock water, either – crisis conditions extend, levels lower than 1957

Posted by waterweek on 9 October 2007

MBD

Storages lowest since 1957: At September 30, the total volume of water stored in River Murray System storages was 2130 GL (23 per cent ), which is the lowest for this time of year since 1957, before the construction of Dartmouth Reservoir and Menindee Lakes storage, and the expansion of Hume Dam. At this time last year storage totalled 3350 GL. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in ACT, agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, Rainfall, River Murray, SA, Salinity, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Over 300 NSW, Victoria, NSW towns face water restriction and water-carting under Ministers Armageddon dust-bowl plan

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Report to First Ministers ;lists Town-by-town contingency planning as “A detailed list of towns potentially moving onto no outdoor use restrictions from 1 July 2007. All states confirm that town-by-town contingency planning frameworks are now in place and are evolving as new issues and situations arise. Public information on affected towns is being made available via State Government web sites”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Drought, Emergency, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, Victoria, Water Security, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

ACT: Capital braces to receive up to 100 severe storms; expected to hit NSW and the ACT between October and March; emergency services urge residents to clean out their gutters “well in advance”

Posted by waterweek on 3 October 2007

According to Sonya Neufeld, in The Canberra Times, (25/09/2007, p.1), Canberrans were being urged to be prepared for up to 100 severe storms, which could include driving hail, cause flash flooding and would have enough force to lift roofs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in ACT, Emergency, nsw, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

In 2007-08 spending on Emergency Services NSW will reach a record $831 million, an increase of almost 9 per cent

Posted by waterweek on 3 October 2007

Treasurer and Minister for the Hunter Michael Costa said in the NSW Legislative Assembly on 18/6/07 that the devastating floods in the Hunter and the Central Coast were a grim reminder of how much we relied on our emergency services in times of natural disaster and other major emergencies.

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Posted in Emergency, nsw, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Murrumbidgee towns may now ease water restrictions from Level 4 to Level 3a but emergency conditions remain:Water Sharing Plan still disabled

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The NSW Department of Water and Energy, September 2007 Murrumbidgee High and General Security licences will be allowed to carryover up to 15 per cent of entitlement, as was permitted last water year. Carryover for High Security will be permitted until the Water Sharing Plan was reinstated. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Emergency, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Flow to South Australia slow: September 2007, Lowest flows since 1968, downstream of Euston Weir, and no flow at all from from Kiewa and Ovens

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The pattern of flows to South Australia over the remainder of the season will be critical in managing river salinity in SA and for meeting increasing diversion requirements and losses said David Dreverman General Manager in the River Murray Report For The Week Ending Wednesday, 19 September 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, River Murray, SA, South Australia, Victoria, Water Security, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Emergency conditions: NSW withholds river-flow to southern states; had it not, it “would not have had any water for any purpose at the start of the season”

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

River levels
The NSW Department of Water and Energy said things were bad, very bad and only “critical water” was available; and there was the risk that event that supplied could fall so low essential services could not be provided. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Murray Valley Water Report: September 2007- historical low, catastrophic dry feared for 2008/2009

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

Water availability to users in the Murray Valley continues to deteriorate – it has now reached an historical low, said The NSW Department of Water and Energy, September 2007. There was “Virtually no chance of a NSW Murray Valley allocation increase in September without immediate heavy rain…There was little rain across the Murray Valley in the past month and water supply continued to worsen. Without further inflows in the coming months there may not be any additional water available for use this year”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Murray Darling Basin, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

New policy-plan: NSW towns to purchase water on the open market in deal to go level 4 to level 3a, others must plan to truck water, open channels banned

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The NSW Department of Water and Energy, said sufficient water will be provided to all towns to meet demands under Level 4 restrictions. Level 4 restrictions would continue until allocations of at least 20 per cent for high security licences were announced.MBDC flows

New idea: An option was currently being considered that would allow towns to purchase water on the open market if they wish to ease the level of restrictions from level 4 to level 3a. This would be on the basis that towns acquire 20 per cent of the volume to meet level 4 restrictions for that month. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Evaporation, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, New ideas, nsw, Policy, Regulation, Town Water, Trade, Water Markets, Water Trade | Leave a Comment »

Armageddon mode: South Australia stops River Murray water flow into Lake Bonney, as moves to disconnect 27 wetlands, to secure downstream flow

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

According to townspeople in Barmera, the State Government’s stoppage of River Murray water flow into Lake Bonney on Tuesday was the “death knell” for Barmera, reported Doug Robertson, in The Advertiser, (27/09/2007, p.18).

Residents contemplate class action: Save Lake Bonney Group organiser Mark Beech, who ran Barmera Backpackers, said business people in the town were considering a class action against the Government for economic loss. He said Lake Bonney would be “dead” if the fresh water supply was cut off for several months.

Supplies cut: Earthmoving equipment moved in on Tuesday, making a 20 metre “temporary” earth barrier across Chambers Creek near Nappers Bridge, about 5 kilometre from the town centre. The Government had cut off River Murray water at 27 sites.

Govt defends action: State Water Security Minister Kaylene Maywald said discontinuing River Murray water from wetlands and lagoons was an emergency response to the drought.

Posted in australia, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, Evaporation, Murray Darling Basin, South Australia, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

Murray Darling Armageddon: Ministers agree to drain and block 44 wetlands and build a new weir at Wellington

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Like the Mayan collapse, it appeared the Murray Darling Basin was in armageddon mode. The long-predicted climatic change appeared to have come early. The Declaration by the the three States, was released by the Prime Minister, who under the just-passed Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers, 20 September 2007.

44 wetlands to die, with more to come: Plans were listed for the death of 44 wetlands with more to come “Senior officials will continue to review the extent to which further wetland disconnection for the purposes of contingency planning is recommended in the Murray System in 2007-08.

Without precedent: “We are facing a spring and summer on the Murray like no other since Hume Dam was completed in 1936,” Chief Executive Dr Wendy Craik AM said today. “The unprecedented combination of both low storage levels and low inflows will require us to operate outside our normal operating regime.”

The Overview Report to First Ministers said: “Disconnection of regulated wetlands to save water in the system continues in each State”:

• The NSW Government temporarily disconnected one regulated wetland (Tareena Billabong) in June 2007. At Euston Lakes evaporation savings will be achieved via lowering of the weir pool. This will have the same effect as disconnecting these wetlands.

• In South Australia, twenty-seven wetlands were closed in January 2007 and two additional wetlands (Ross and Jaeschke Lagoons) were disconnected in June 2007.

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources determined on 24 August 2007 that the temporary disconnection of a further seven wetlands in South Australia does not need approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) (EPBC Act).

• The Murray-Darling Basin Commission has agreed to funding disconnection of six of these wetlands, including the provision of alternative water supplies for existing users;

• The Victorian Government has completed a preliminary assessment of potential wetlands for temporary disconnection.

Temporary weir near Wellington: After a referral by South Australia, the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Water Resources has determined that the construction of a temporary weir near Wellington is a controlled action for the purposes of the EPBC Act. The temporary weir is to be assessed at the level of an Environmental Impact Statement. The South Australian Government will make an announcement regarding the weir during September 2007.

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, Project Approvals, River Murray, SA, Victoria, water, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

April 2008 Murray system disaster forecast; tree deaths, massive fish deaths, as water falls below the intake-pipes

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Water-levels below Lock 1 were projected to fall from their current level of 0.25m Australian Height Datum (AHD), to negative 0.6m AHD in April 2008. Under these projected conditions, massive fish death in the Lower Lakes is more likely. For the worst case scenario, water levels will continue to fall, reaching negative 1.5m AHD in the latter half of 2008. Salinity would rise and make what small irrigation water which was available, poisonous to crops and trees.

MDB levels

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Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Deforestation, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, Extinctions, Fauna, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Plantation forestry, South Australia, Uncategorized, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

“Serious” says PM: NSW, Vic, and SA argue over dregs of Murray Darling Basin

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

“The 2007-08 water availability outlook for the southern Basin system is serious and has deteriorated through August”, says the Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers, September 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, SA, Victoria, water | Leave a Comment »

Australia’s water-wars: PM says Commonwealth does not plan to divert water from Victoria to South Australia: issues water emergency plan

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

On 20 September the Prime Minister published the September Murray-darling Basin Contingency Planning, paper, despite Victorian resistance.  The Prime Minister said “Last week I wrote to the Premiers of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria and the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory seeking their agreement to the release of the report. All except Premier Brumby agreed”.  The PM said “Yesterday Premier Brumby publicly announced that Victoria cannot agree to the release of an important report on water availability in the southern Murray-Darling Basin, claiming that it represented an attempt by the Commonwealth to divert water from Victoria to South Australia. The report does no such thing”, wrote the PM, and released the report, to illustrate his point.

The fourth Armageddon plan: When water falls below 3000ML – and its now at about 1500ML – an emergency plan cuts in.  The fourth Contingency Planning Report provides an update on 2007-08 water availability and state water sharing and allocations, an outline of the management of unregulated flows, progress on 2007-08 contingency measures and recommendations for contingency planning in 2008-09.

How the PM sees it:  “ Contrary to Mr Brumby’s claims, the report does not request that Victoria – or any other jurisdiction – divert water to South Australia. Rather, it recommends that measures be taken in 2007-08 to ensure there is enough water available to run the rivers and for critical needs in 2008-09. This includes the possibility – amongst other actions – of a “collective reserve” to be established by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, about which Premier Brumby expressed concerns to me last week.

Brumby says “No”: Premier Brumby’s actions “follow Victoria’s refusal to join all other jurisdictions in the National Plan for Water Security, on which the Commonwealth has been forced to adopt legislation invoking its constitutional powers”, said the PM. “ Given Mr Brumby’s misrepresentations, and strong public interest grounds for it to be in the public realm, I am releasing the fourth contingency planning report, noting Victoria’s position, in full today, 20 September 2007”.

Posted in Allocations, Drought, Emergency, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, River Murray, SA, Victoria, Water Security, Water Wars, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Goldfields Pipeline helpful, but fast-growing towns need underground aquifers for water solution, says Steve Gibbons, Member for Bendigo, Victorian

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Despite some good recent rains water reserves remained far below normal capacity, with the reservoirs in the Coliban system currently about 15 per cent full and Bendigo’s other main source of supply, Lake Eppalock, at under five per cent of capacity, said Labor MP Steve Gibbons in the Federal Parliament on 14 August 2007.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Aquifer, Drought, Emergency, Pipeline, Salinity, Storage, Town Water, Victoria, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Zimbabweans face total famine: country will run out of wheat in three days while 36,000 tonnes of wheat held awaiting payment

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

The OK supermarket in Mbare township is so empty that your voice echoed off the high ware­house roof, according to The Australian (7/9/2007, p. 12).

Ten scones and a dozen cabbages to feed teeming township: “On row after row of white shelving, wiped clean each day, sit a dozen cabbages,” according to the newspaper. “The bakery has 10 plain scones. That is all the food there is in the largest supermarket serving tens of thou­sands of people in the oldest, and teeming, township in Harare. It is 10 weeks since President Robert Mugabe forced businesses to slash prices of all goods and services in the belief that he could crush inflation, which he says is a plot by the Zimbabwean private sector, in collusion with Western governments, to overthrow him.”

Protest and suppression: “Two things have happened: inflation has rocketed and, ac­cording to the Government, the country will run out of wheat in three days,” The Australian said. Zimbabweans appeared set to face an almost total absence of food and ordinary household goods. An eruption of public anger, to be met with violent suppression by Mr Mugabe’s security forces, was likely to follow, observers said. Initially, Mr Mugabe’s June 25 price blitz sparked a gleeful storming of shops, where man­agers looked on aghast as their businesses were stripped at the Government’s bidding.

Govt cannot pay for wheat: Annual inflation in July, a month after the crackdown be­gan, hit a record 7600 per cent. Last week, the value of the Zimbabwean dollar on the black market fell to a new low of 200,000 to $1. “We wonder on what planet President Mugabe lives,” said Wellington Chibebe, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Con­gress of Trade Unions. The country’s main bakery closed one of its largest outlets yesterday because of lack of wheat — a shipment of 36,000 tonnes is being held in a Mozam­bique port because the Govern­ment cannot pay for it.

The Australian, 7/9/2007, p. 12

Posted in Emergency, Grains, Policy, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Oil spill from fuel-transfer hose into ocean is ‘one in 50’, says Drillsearch as it details impacts of Marina-1 Exploration Well

Posted by waterweek on 20 September 2007

While the probability of a major oil spill associated with hydrocarbon exploration and production facilities was low in Australian marine waters, consequences of such an event can be significant (Swan et al., 1994), noted the Drillsearch Energy Limited, Drilling of Marina-1 Exploration Well EPBC Referral Submission (24/7/2007). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Emergency, Gas, Marine, pollution, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

17 September: disaster-fears as Melbourne’s water storages 38.9 per cent of capacity, 8 percentage points below the 46.6 per cent level of September 2006

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

Melbourne’s water storages were at 38.9 per cent of capacity nearly 8 percentage points below the 46.6 per cent level of September 2006. Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu seized on the figures, warn­ing that Melburnians should not think the worst was behind them. One option to can­cel 20 billion litres of environ­ment flows for the Thomson and Yarra rivers. This represents three or four weeks of average consumption for the city of Melbourne.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in desalination, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, Pipeline, Policy, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

National Plan for Water Security: 62 versions of legislation secretly circulated since 25 January, says Labor

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

Although the Prime Minister’s announcement of his $10 billion National Plan for Water Security on 25 January was more a headline than a policy, Labor provided in-principle bipartisan support because it had been calling for greater national leadership in water policy from day one, said Labor’s Anthony Albanese in the Federal Parliament on 14 Augist 2007.

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Posted in Drought, Emergency, Law, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

NSW Burrunjuck and Blowering, Snowy Hydro and water in downstream storages, now represent the total available water to the Murrumbidgee Valley

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

A 17 September NSW Department of Water and Energy paper “Critical water planning for the Murrumbidgee Valley”, reported natural inflows into storages have receded to very low levels. Storage levels in Burrunjuck and Blowering together with assured inflows from Snowy Hydro and water in downstream storages, represent the total available water to the Murrumbidgee Valley. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, nsw, Storage | Leave a Comment »

1000-year low-flow in Murray River: Murray-Darling Basin report for the week ending Wednesday, 12 September 2007:

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

Murray-Darling Basin Commission general manager David Dreverman told a water summit inflow into the Murray last month was so low as to be classed as a one-in-1000-year. In a report published published 14 September, 2007 he detailed the very low level of the Murray System; weekly inflow of 53 GL for the River Murray system remains well below the average for this time of year of about 380 GL. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Drought, Emergency, mdb, Policy, River Murray, SA, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Pacific Economic Co-operation Council’s survey: 84pc of respondents rank high energy prices as threat to economic growth over next five years

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

The Pacific Economic Co-operation Council’s State of the Region survey of business, government, academic and media bodies found that 84 per cent of respondents ranked high energy prices as a threat to economic growth over the next five years. However, it would appear Australia is one of the countries with the least to fear, being ranked third-highest in energy security among APEC nations in the survey released at the APEC-embedded industrial lobby group, the APEC Business Advisory Council in Sydney. Only Peru and China had better ratings in terms of the impact an energy price rise would have on national economic growth, while Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico were ranked as the worst, wrote The Australian (6/9/2007, p.25).

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Posted in Drought, Emergency, Energy, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Agflation: Grain prices to rattle beef, dairy, pork, eggs and chicken: “disaster unprecedented in Australian history” predicts Horticulture Coun­cil chief

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

It’s called agflation and it’s coming very soon, propelled by climate change and drought. Grain prices have hit record levels, and those prices will ram­ify through the feed chain —beef, dairy, pork, eggs and chicken — and reach consumers. Australian Horticulture Coun­cil chief executive Kris Newton says the severe cutback in irriga­tion water could result in price rises, as seen with bananas after Cyclone Larry, reported Asa Wahlquist in The Australian, (15/9/2007, p. 33).

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Posted in agriculture, Drought, Emergency, Energy, Grains, Irrigation, Price, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Qld arm of Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas questions fuel subsidy; warns of ‘serious economic’ hit as oil and food markets compete

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas Brisbane spokes­man Stuart McCarthy warned of “tough (and expensive) decisions” to avoid a serious economic hit. “What we’d like to see come out of the McNamara report (by new Queensland Minister for Sustainability Andrew McNamara) is a big re-po­sitioning of funding for public trans­port,” McCarthy said, reported The Courier Mail (15/9/2007, p.16). He also warns that bio-fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel, while useful, were no substitute for oil.

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Posted in agriculture, Emergency, Energy, Grains, Price, qld, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Victoria Latrobe Valley power stations water buyers for a second year after from Blue Rock irrigators after low inflows, sabotaged allocations

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

The Latrobe Valley power stations supply 85 per cent of Victoria’s electricity and use about 140 billion litres of water a year. They receive an annual allocation from Blue Rock dam under an agreement with the State Government. But the water crisis has hit Victoria’s power sector hard over the past financial year. Two major Latrobe generators – Yallourn and Loy Yang B- bought emergency supplies over the internet from Blue Rock irrigators because low inflows sabotaged their allocations. In June, The Age revealed that the power stations were investigating alternatives. A State Government-commissioned study explored options including on-site desalination plants and dry cooling systems, reported The Age, (10/9/2007), p. 4.

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Posted in Allocations, Dams, desalination, Emergency, Irrigation, Price, Victoria, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Catastrophic: SA pig farmers, lot feeders closing as pork and beef prices will not cover the huge cost of buying barley, at highest price ever, $360 a tonne

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

Mr Ivan Venning , Member for Schubert, told the House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007: ” I do not know what the answer is, but the house must realise the catastrophic situation we are in:

• The pig farmers and the lot feeders are closing down because the pork and beef prices will not cover the huge cost of buying barley at, say, $360 a tonne. That is the highest price ever, and it is a total aberration because there is no barley.

• The meat meal costs have gone through the roof, so they cannot afford to raise pigs. It is the same with the eggs and broilers for the chooks, and I assume that they would be affected in the same way. It is a very sad situation, and I hope that the minister and others can come on side and, with the federal government, address this situation. Of course, if it rains tonight, it might solve the problem”.

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Emergency, Grains, Price, SA, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

SA farmers pre-sell crop; told – at $200 per tonne, forward sell; one sold 3,000 tonnes barley at $200; price now $370, no water, no barley, he’s bankrupt

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

Ivan Venning, Member for Schubert, told the House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007 said the drought was so severe “.. we are already seeing foreclosures by many of the banks. To make matters worse, we have another anomaly, which is a most unusual situation of the washout of contracts”.

Farmers to pre-sold their crop for the first time; “It is not because of deregulation; but deregulation of our industries, particularly barley, has caused many farmers to pre-sell their crop for the first time. We are told by experts to get advice and, particularly with barley, if it gets to $200 per tonne to forward sell. I know of one farmer who forward sold 3 000 tonnes of his barley at $200 per tonne, and now will not grow a single grain.

Banks are refusing to finance: “ The problem is that the price of that barley today is $370. That farmer has to go and buy 3 000 tonnes of barley for that contract at $370, and it is washed out at $200. That is what is called a `washout’. You do not need to be much of a mathematician to see what that adds up to. That adds up to a massive amount of money plus, in some instances, there is a $40 per tonne penalty. That is horrific. To make it worse, the banks are refusing to finance these washouts.

Drought subsidies not enough: “EC funding is available to a lot of these farmers, but it will not save many of them because of the immensity of the problem. It also affects all other areas of agriculture, not just the grain growers I am involved with. It affects the viticulturalists, the grape growers, the graziers and the haymakers. It is affecting everybody across the whole board, including the rural communities that support them, particularly the agents and the machinery manufacturers. Everybody is involved, even cities such as Whyalla. It is affecting everybody”.

Reference: Ivan Venning, Member for Schubert, House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007.

Posted in Allocations, Climate, Emergency, Grains, Policy, Price, SA, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

South Australia faces worst-case scenario: Murray irrigators told from 1 October, allocations increased from zero to 16 per cent if total Murray flows, above 1 500 gigalitres

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

The Minister for Water Security, House of Assembly, for South Australia, on 11 September 2007 said the predicted flow into South Australia under a range of scenarios was “the worst-case scenario: (a repeat of last year) where we will receive only around 800 to 900 gigalitres; under very dry conditions, which we would expect to exceed in nine out of 10 years, that is around 1 250; and, under average conditions (and there is only a 50:50 chance that this could occur), we might receive somewhere in the vicinity of 1 300 to 1 370 gigalitres”.

Only 913 gigalitres between three states: Kay Maywald (Minister for the River Murray) said the Murray-Darling Basin Commission had advised that, based on the end of August inflows, the volume available for states – above critical human needs was 913 gigalitres. This was revised up to 1 217 gigalitres on 4 September.

Emergency water-sharing plan: “On the basis of the drought water-sharing rules agreed by first ministers, the resources available to each of the states as at the end of August include:

South Australia for diversion, 120 gigalitres.“We set our diversion rate for 1 September based on an anticipated 102; we actually achieved at extra 18 gigalitres, which we have now applied to increasing allocations from 13 to 16. This year, South Australia will also receive 225 gigalitres of dilution flows at this stage. That is what we have in the bank, and we hope that it will be added to as more flows into the system;

New South Wales 120 gigalitres available for diversion; and

Victoria 435 gigalitres for diversion A small amount of 13 gigalitres has been set aside for the environment.

Water for irrigation if flows exceed 1 500 gigalitres:  Maywald, said River Murray irrigators that from 1 October licence holders will have their allocations increased to 16 per cent. This is early advice to assist them with their planning. That water is currently in the bank and now available to us to allocate as a consequence of the end of August data assessment. However, for us to improve that for 1 October, we have to see total inflows into the River Murray system exceed 1 500 gigalitres. That is an important figure for South Australian irrigators, because we cannot increase our allocations to South Australian River Murray irrigators until we have exceeded that 1 500 gigalitre target”.
Reference: Hon. K.A. Maywald, Minister for Water Security, House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007

Posted in Allocations, Climate, Emergency, Policy, SA, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Adelaide could run out of water by the summer of 2008-09; above-average rainfall required next winter in Murray-Darling Basin

Posted by waterweek on 14 September 2007

Adelaide could run out of water by the summer of 2008-09 after disappointing rains this winter failed to recharge the city’s main supply from the Murray River, reported The Australian (5/9/2007, p.6).

Sudden torrent required, or else: The catastrophe of residents of the South Australian capital forced to rely on emergency supplies of water from January 2009 can be averted only by well-above-average rainfall next winter in the Murray-Darling Basin. However, the chances of the city’s estimated eight months of storage being replenished before next winter are fading because the likelihood of above-average rain over the next three months is low.

Eight months emergency supply for Adelaide: SA Water had already pumped an extra 60 gigalitres of water to top up the city’s reservoirs as a buffer against further deterioration of water quality in the Murray. Currently filled to about 80 per cent of capacity, they provide eight months’ water supply for Adelaide and will operate as a final emergency tank if supplies from the Murray run out.

BHP desalination plant plan at Spencer Gulf: Whyalla mayor Jim Pollock said he was increasingly concerned about his region’s reliance on water piped from Morgan, at the bottom of the Murray River. He said the community could look at switching supply to the BHP desalination plant proposed at the top of Spencer Gulf to supply the expansion to the uranium mine at Roxby Downs. “We’ve got to take what comes out of the tap, but if conditions worsen then it’s time for us to speak to the authorities to find out what measures they’ve got in place for us,” he said.

The Australian, 5/9/2007, p. 6

Posted in australia, desalination, Drought, Emergency, mdb, SA, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Brisbane water crisis: claim that State Govt could grab billions of litres of “private” water

Posted by waterweek on 14 September 2007

Although individuals from south-east Queensland were well and truly responding to the requirement to use less water, in the face of a once in a hundred years drought, the worst set of conditions possible, Brisbane might become the biggest city in the Western world to run out of water, said Liberal MP Gary Hardgrave in the Federal House of Representatives on 15 August 2007.

City dams less than a fifth full: “What that will actually mean in its totality I do not really want to imagine, but it is a reality that we have to face with our Wivenhoe and Somerset storage dams at less than 17 per cent capacity,” Hardgrave said. “Let us be plain: the Wivenhoe Dam is not really a water storage dam. It is a very shallow and very broad dam — in other words, it is easy for the water to evaporate.”

State govt could take over private water tanks: Hardgrave said: “A report in today’s Courier Mail outlines the fact that the Queensland government could very easily steal the water out of people’s water tanks because people have no legal ownership of the water that falls on the roofs of their houses and makes its way through the pipe systems that they have installed, albeit in some cases with subsidies from Queensland taxpayers and Brisbane City Council ratepayers. The Queensland government will put a meter on people’s water tanks and take control of those tanks. There is no legal impediment to stop that from occurring.”

Concern for billions of litres of water: “This is something that has been highlighted by … the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources,” said Hardgrave. “But it is not just a Liberal cabinet minister in this place who is highlighting this; the Australian Democrat Senator for Queensland, Andrew Bartlett, has also said that he is very concerned about a possible water grab. There are literally billions of litres of water stored in a variety of water tanks around homes in south-east Queensland today.”

Reference: Gary Hardgrave, Federal Member for Moreton, Liberal Party of Australia, House of Representatives, Commonwealth, 15 August 2007.

Erisk Net, 19/8/2007

Posted in Drought, Emergency, Policy, qld, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »