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Nasty “little ozone factory”: Earth’s fastest-growing plant kudzu is leading source of hydrocarbon isoprene to form ozone with NO, and to a lesser extent nitrous oxide

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

Among the fastest-growing plants on Earth, kudzu (Pueraria montana) was introduced to the US from Japan in 1876 as an ornamental plant. Subsequently planted to control soil erosion, it has become a serious pest across much of the nation, reported New Scientist (11/8/2007, p.13).

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Roundtable costings indicate Tasmanian pulp mill project may cause economic loss to the state; mill does not represent sustainable development for Tasmania, say businesses

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

While Gunns claimed its proposed Tasmanian pulp mill, which will create 290 full-time jobs once fully operational, would add $6.7 billion, or 2.5 per cent to the Tasmanian economy and an additional $894 million in extra tax revenue between 2008 and 2030, a roundtable meeting of local businesses, believing it was absurd for any assessment not to examine the risks and potential negative impacts of the project, commissioned its own study, reported The Australian (23/8/2007, p. 13).

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Four intense east coast lows lowered and narrowed beaches and exposed seawalls at Sydney’s Narrabeen, Cronulla, Dee Why and Manly beaches: potential danger for summer swimmers, houses in erosion zone

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

Four intense lows on the east coast have brought waves powerful enough to strip sand from beaches and cause erosion, reported The Daily Telegraph (13/8/2007, p. 8).

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Murray-Darling dams not enough to water Adelaide in extreme drought; 52pc spending increase to improve South Australia’s water infrastructure

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

The need to find further sources of water was the reason why, in March this year, the government commissioned the Desalination Working Group to investigate alternative sources of supplying water for the future, including desalination, South Australian Premier Mike Rann said in the South Australian House of Assembly on 11 September 2007.

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Locals see British forces as ‘defeated’ in Basra, not ‘withdrawing’, says ICG Iraq analysis

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

Britain had 45,000 troops in Iraq during the invasion and a peak of 18,000 in the occupation, reported The Australian (4/9/2007, p.13). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in International, Security, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

India’s continuing absence from APEC a serious gap; a ‘future engine’ of global economy, says Aus Chamber of Commerce chief

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

India’s continuing absence from APEC was a serious gap in its membership, and one that should be remedied by APEC leaders, said Peter Hardy, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in The Australian Financial Review (3/9/2007, p.B15).

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Around $300 can render a large family household “carbon neutral” for a year; but author questions the real price

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

Rather than changing your lifestyle, there was another way to clear your conscience about the size of your carbon footprint: via your wallet and carbon offsets, reported The Australian (15/9/2007, p.1).

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Vic SOG officers wary of forced-entry raid that led to shooting death, coroner hears

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

Special Operations Group police officers involved in a dawn raid on a Brooklyn house in 2005 expressed misgivings about the operation before a man was fatally shot in the house, a court heard, reported The Age (13/9/2007, p.9). Read the rest of this entry »

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South Australia drought crisis measures: desalination, Wellington weir, 45pc recycling, and lowered intake pipes

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

The need to find further sources of water was the reason why, in March this year, the government commissioned the Desalination Working Group to investigate alternative sources of supplying water for the future, including desalination, South Australian Premier Mike Rann said in the South Australian House of Assembly on 11 September 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Energy, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | 1 Comment »

South Australia demand side policy halves Adelaide city use

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

South Australian Premier Mike Rann praised South Australians for their water conservation efforts while giving details of eased domestic water restrictions to the South Australian House of Assembly on 11 September 2007.

sawater_cuts.jpeg Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Demand Side, Domestic, Drought, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, SA, South Australia, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | 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 »

NSW, Victoria, South Australia policy-makers drought-panic leads to weasel words and tricky accounting

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

States have made a Declaration of emergency which requires to draining of more than 30 wetlands in the Murray Darling Basin to service Town Water and some irrigation. The Prime Minister’s release of the Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report, September 2007 showed panic-moves to respond to worst case of a dry Murray Darling system, with water below intakes, and with what water was left – so saline,  as to, poison crops. Each state had moved into last-ditch-measures mode, and tricky accounting was disguised with weasel word as all States agreed to change rules and use bureaucratic-speak to hide the take of the last water in the system – the wetlands and ‘environmental flows’ – needed to keep the river system alive. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Environmental Flows, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, Victoria, water, Water Wars, 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 »

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.

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

More reuse of treated wastewater from the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant and harvesed stormwater, in South Australian project

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Various different groups in his electorate were looking at a project that involved extending the reuse of treated wastewater from the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant and harvesting stormwater from within the area bounded approximately by the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant catchment, said Labor MP Steve Georganas in the Federal House of Representatives on 14 August 2007.

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Posted in Effluent, Policy, SA, Stormwater, Waste Water, water, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

Consultations on Chaffrey Dam enlargement have taken six months: time for a decision, says NSW local MP

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Independent Federal MP Tony Windsor catalogued a list of contacts made with Federal legislators by local politicians to advance the enlargement of the Chaffey Dam, after Environment and Water Resources Minister Malcolm Turnbull professed ignorance of the matter, in the Federal Parliament on 9 August 2007.

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Posted in australia, Dams, Irrigation, nsw, Policy, Town Water, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Water Bill 2007 leaves too many unanswered questions, places unreasonable pressure on states acting in good faith: Labor MP

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

While the Water Bill was a step forward, there was confusion and doubts about several key issues, said Labor MP Anthony Albanese in the Federal Parliament on 14 August 2007.

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Posted in mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, water, Water Security, Water Wars, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Resource conflict in NSW; Federal contribution sought for Chaffey Dam enlargement proposal

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Conflict was emerging over the existence of 500 million tonnes of coal and vast quantities of groundwater on the Liverpool plains, said Independent MP Tony Windsor in the Federal Parliament on 13 August 2007.

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Posted in agriculture, algae, Coal mines, Dams, Irrigation, nsw, 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 »

Western Australian Mt Gibson iron ore project has approved water allocation of 5.5 gigalitres per annum from Tathra field, which sources Parmelia aquifer

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Western Australian Minister for Agriculture and Food Kim Chance answered two of four questions about the Mt Gibson iron ore mine and its effect on neighbouring aquifers from Greens MLC Giz Watson in the Western Australian Legislative Council on 28 August 2007.

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Qld, 8 September: Heavy rains during the past week added 5400 megalitres to the combined storages of Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

According to The Courier Mail, (08/09/2007, p.7) quoting SEQWater operations manager Rob Drury, a further month’s supplies were added to Brisbane’s dams through scattered rainfall over the past week with last Thursday’s inflows alone adding 5400 megalitres into the combined storages of Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams.

Combined storage capacity at 20.56pc: A further 5000 megalitres was expected to flow into Somerset in the next two to three days from heavy rain in the far north of the catchment and the Sunshine Coast. The combined capacity of all three dams was 20.56 per cent on 7 September as showers continued in catchments.

Somerset outshines: Somerset Dam had done best, with good rain at the Maleny end of the Sunshine Coast catchment. In the 24 hours to 9am on 7 September, the highest rainfall in Queensland was 129mm at Noosa Heads.

The Courier Mail, 8/9/2007, p. 7

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Qld: Warrego River water licence auction: Private trust backed by six environment groups to attempt to buy new water licences

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

A bid by the Nature Conservation Water Trust backed by six environment groups would attempt to buy new Warrego River water licences due to be auctioned by the Queensland Government next week – the first of its kind in Australia where a private group of conservationists would go head to head with agriculture businesses to buy water for the environment, reported The Sydney Morning Herald, (11/09/2007, p.7).
The last resort: “All other avenues have been closed off,” said Professor Richard Kingsford, a wetlands expert from the University of New South Wales who was advising the trust. “The auction date has inexorably been coming on us with no action to stop it.” The new trust’s backers included National Parks Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Inland Rivers Network and the Wilderness Society.

Trust raising $2.5m to secure licences: A member of the new water trust had registered to bid at the auction and Kingsford said it was now trying to raise $2.5 million in the next week to secure the licences. Some money had already been collected and local graziers were “handing around the hat”.

Pvt ownership may threaten wetlands: Kingsford was also concerned that if the water licences were bought by private irrigators the survival of the Warrego and the Paroo wetlands attached to it would be under threat from cotton and crop development. The Paroo was considered one of the last natural wetland refuges in New South Wales for many inland bird species, including brolgas, egrets and the speckled duck.

NSW graziers, environmentalists protest: The auction was being held just over the border from New South Wales and was being strongly opposed by New South Wales environmentalists and graziers who feared it would cut flows to flood-plain properties in north-western New South Wales outside Bourke.

Graziers to call upon Federal, Qld Govt: A meeting of local graziers would take place on Thursday where they would again call on the Federal and Queensland governments to halt the auction.

Turnbull urges Beattie to review decision: Last Friday the Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, made a plea to the outgoing Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, to review the auction. His assistant minister, the National Party’s John Cobb, called for the auction to be delayed, calling it “ridiculous”, while the former deputy prime minister John Anderson described the Queensland actions as “provocative and unhelpful”.

Last auction in the system: The auction of 8000 megalitres of water from the Warrego River on 18 and 19 September, by the State Government, would be the last water licence auction allowed on the Murray-Darling system.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 11/9/2007, p. 7

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WA: Rainfall around much of the state’s agricultural area in July improves rural confidence; farmers optimistic of higher incomes after a dull year

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Rural confidence had improved slightly in WA, following rainfall around much of the state’s agricultural area in July and strong commodity prices positively impacting farmers’ confidence levels with improvement in wheat prices and relatively strong wool prices, reported Farm Weekly, (30/08/2007, p.23).

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Queensland waste company leaked poly­chlorinated biphenyls for three years; Council knew but didn’t tell Environ­mental Protection Agency

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Caboolture Shire Council knew a Narangba waste treat­ment company was leaking potentially cancer-causing chemicals for three years but did not notify the Environ­mental Protection Agency (EPA), reported The Courier Masil (8/9/2007, p. 3).

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Long-terms plan to reduce salinity in Western Australia Tone and Upper Warren river

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

The South West Catchment Council’s natu­ral resource management plan for the Tone and Upper-Warren salinity river recovery project aimed to improve water standards by 2030, reported Farm Weekly (6/9/2007, p. 47).

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Adel­aide should be securing its own core independent water supply and possibly building three or four water desalination plants: Leader editorial in Advertiser

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

The State Government needed to understand the financing of water infrastructure such as desalination plants was not simply a public sector issue, according to The Advertiser (7/9/2007, p.18).

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Posted in Bursts, desalination, Policy, Public Opinion, River Murray, Water Markets, Water Security, Water Trade, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Federal ruling may mean Queensland households lose ownership of the rainwater falling on their roofs

Posted by waterweek on 20 September 2007

Queensland households risked losing control of the rainwater falling on their roofs, reported The Courier Mail, (15/08/2007, p.17). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Domestic, Drought, Policy, qld, Regulation, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Bendigo had no natural waterway sufficient to sustain a city of 100,000 people

Posted by waterweek on 20 September 2007

In his electorate of Bendigo there was no natural waterway sufficient to sustain a city of 100,000 people, said Labor MP Steve Gibbons in the Federal Parliament on 14 August 2007.

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Posted in Pipeline, Policy, Project Approvals, Victoria, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Water Bill and programs flowing from it being kept well away from Treasury: Labor MP

Posted by waterweek on 20 September 2007

The head of the Treasury, Ken Henry, the senior economic adviser to the government, had expressed serious reservations about government policy development in relation to water and climate change, said Labor MP Anthony Albanese in the Federal House of Representtaives on 14 Auguist 2007.

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Posted in Emissions, Energy, Federal Election, Policy, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »