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ACT water supply plans

johnboy 27 March 2009 50

[First filed: March 25, 2009 @ 14:06]

Simon Corbell has announced his plans to end water restrictions, and we won’t even have to drink our wee.

    The ACT Government has given the green light to build the Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline and buy water from Tantangara Reservoir improving Canberra’s water security for many years to come, Environment, Climate Change and Water Minister, Simon Corbell, announced today.

    Mr Corbell said the Government had made a decision this week enabling ACTEW to begin construction of the pump station and pipeline from Murrumbidgee, near Angle Crossing, to Googong Dam next year and to buy water from Tantangara when required.

    “These projects are in addition to the Government’s previous decision to enlarge the Cotter Dam. In these tough times, with an ongoing drought resulting in below average-level rainfall, it is essential the Government acts now to ensure adequate supply down the track,” he said

    Mr Corbell said the Government had also decided to defer a project to build a pilot water purification plant.

    “The Government has accepted ACTEW’s advice that the proposed water recycling project is feasible but can be deferred if the expanded Cotter Dam and Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline project proceed,” he said.

ACTEW have declared that they’re very happy with the announcement.

UPDATED: Simon Corbell has seen fit to rebut claims that there’s not enough water in Tantangara to make this work:

    “Currently the Tantangara Reservoir is at 6.2 per cent of its 254Gl capacity which is approximately 16Gl of water, but this is at the driest time of the seasonal cycle. The low seasonal level is dictatedby the level of the off-take pipe to Eucumbene Dam.”

    “The average annual intake to Tantangara is 301Gl. Spring traditionally sees an increase of inflows for the reservoir, following snow melt and increased rainfall. It is the seasonal flow that makes Tantangara reliable” Mr Corbell said.

Bear in mind a lot of the naysayers have a commercial interest in the criminally under-priced agricultural water which this scheme takes steps towards rectifying.


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ricketyclik ricketyclik 10:27 am 23 Jul 09

peterh said :

johnboy said :

The point remains that the snowy scheme has *relatively* large amounts of water, which it sells for miniscule fractions of the cost of municipal water.

We can afford to outbid the farmers downstream and buy the water to wash our cars.

If this encourages rational water pricing in the interior then it is a positive benefit to the nation.

exactly. The other point to make is that the wastage from the flows into the MDB could easily be managed by a system whereby our flows from the treatment works and other inflows – stormwater etc could be redirected into the murrumbidgee, traveling down to nsw /vic / sa and providing water for sunrice, and other crops, whereas the extremely clean and pure snowy water which is highly potable could be used in the canberra drinking water supply.

No redirection needed – that’s where it goes right now. The only things preventing it are expensive reuse and stormwater harvesting schemes, eg, household rainwater tanks and greywater reuse diverting water on to lawns from stormwater pipes and sewers.

welkin31 welkin31 8:52 am 28 Mar 09

We consumers are paying bigtime for the 5 years plus and counting delays in building another dam. Paying $100 Mill (plus overruns) for the Googong pipeline seems expensive to gain an annual average 9 GL.

Digga Digga 8:12 am 28 Mar 09

Yes, stop pushing the ACT population towards half a million. You morons (the planners & pollies, not my fellow Rioters).

smokey4 smokey4 11:13 pm 27 Mar 09

All I can say is good luck however it is a bit like having your thumb in a leaky dyke. As soon as you fix one bit another problem will open up.

Remember we do not own water, we only get to manage it prior to passing it on. Continually building new houses requires more water. How many are currently planned?
Any water solution will only buy some time until the problem occurs again.

p1 p1 10:58 pm 27 Mar 09

Tantagara is a fairly reliable source.

Exactly why it makes sense for Canberra to buy it.

The proposed Tennant Dam would catch the same water which the Tantangara-to-Googong scheme is going to be able to pump across to Googong for storage. Tennant would only be an advantage if Cotter and Googong were both full, and if that is the case, we wouldn’t be worried about the amount of water available.

The only thing that I see as an environmental issue is Tantangara releasing more water into the Murrumbidgee will mean flows (between Tantangara and the pipeline to Googong) will be higher then any time since Tantangara was built. The river isn’t used to that.

chewy14 chewy14 1:21 pm 27 Mar 09

deye said :

I wonder if Simon has seen this http://www.snowyhydro.com.au/lakeLevels.asp?pageID=360&parentID=6&mode=submitted

That reason that Tantagara is so low is because the water in it is currently used for hydro electricity generation.
Tantagara is a fairly reliable source.

johnboy johnboy 1:16 pm 27 Mar 09

Also the current cotter dam is constantly full, and indeed overflowing.

extending building a bigger dam there does seem to be a good option.

jakez jakez 1:02 pm 27 Mar 09

johnboy said :

What’s unethical is urbans gardens dying so cotton farming multinationals can keep storing water in turkeynest dams for virtually free.

Some sane water pricing might just give us sane agriculture in the interior.

Indeed, however your road block is this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_choice_theory

caf caf 12:59 pm 27 Mar 09

Probably because the Cotter is a more productive catchment than the proposed Tennant. And it still doesn’t matter to the people downstream whether we take more from a local catchment or from Tantangara – the only people who lose out are the Snowy Scheme, who don’t get to generate hydroelectricity from that water. Which they get compensated for.

miz miz 12:55 pm 27 Mar 09

But I agree with JB that it is wrong that some notable corporations get water far cheaper than others.

miz miz 12:53 pm 27 Mar 09

I don’t see how extending the Cotter can be equated with building the Tennent we were supposed to have already, given that it would be sensible to get another catchment area . . .

caf caf 12:30 pm 27 Mar 09

Not to mention that

1. We *are* building a new dam.

2. Any extra water extracted from any catchment in the ACT through a new dam is water that would otherwise have flowed down the Murrumbidgee – the same place that the Tantangara water would have gone if we didn’t buy it. So there would be no difference to the water users of the lower Murrumbidgee!

johnboy johnboy 12:26 pm 27 Mar 09

What’s unethical is urbans gardens dying so cotton farming multinationals can keep storing water in turkeynest dams for virtually free.

Some sane water pricing might just give us sane agriculture in the interior.

jakez jakez 12:21 pm 27 Mar 09

miz said :

Seems unethical to take others’ water. I just wish they would spend the money on another dam, we clearly need one if we are having to cadge water from others.

Do you feel unethical when you go to the store and take that stores products?

Every resource is finite miz, the Government is trading with an organisation that feels that the money is worth more than the water rights. You do the same thing with Woolworths and Joe down at the Butchers shop.

miz miz 12:19 pm 27 Mar 09

Seems unethical to take others’ water. I just wish they would spend the money on another dam, we clearly need one if we are having to cadge water from others.

dvaey dvaey 9:43 am 26 Mar 09

shauno said :

Not to much water in Tantangara. Any one been up there and seen how empty it is? Its usually around 4% or so because all the water is pumped into Ecumbene for use in the hydro scheme.

Tantangara was about 7% last I looked and Eucumbene is in the 20s. There aint much to be gained from pumping to/from either of these sources. Not to mention, if you start draining water from Eucumbene and Tantangara, the fisherfolk will start getting annoyed.

deye deye 12:43 am 26 Mar 09

AG Canberra said :

No wonder ACTEWAGL are happy – they won’t have to convice us to drink our own wee.

You mean like every town down river between here and Adelaide drinks our wee ?
I wonder how many bodies the drinking water in Adelaide has passed through on it’s way down the Murray Darling River system.

ant ant 12:40 am 26 Mar 09

shauno said :

Not to much water in Tantangara. Any one been up there and seen how empty it is? Its usually around 4% or so because all the water is pumped into Ecumbene for use in the hydro scheme.

From memory, you can see Tantangara from the top of Gingera. so people could pretty easily go and have a look.

peterh peterh 11:58 pm 25 Mar 09

johnboy said :

The point remains that the snowy scheme has *relatively* large amounts of water, which it sells for miniscule fractions of the cost of municipal water.

We can afford to outbid the farmers downstream and buy the water to wash our cars.

If this encourages rational water pricing in the interior then it is a positive benefit to the nation.

exactly. The other point to make is that the wastage from the flows into the MDB could easily be managed by a system whereby our flows from the treatment works and other inflows – stormwater etc could be redirected into the murrumbidgee, traveling down to nsw /vic / sa and providing water for sunrice, and other crops, whereas the extremely clean and pure snowy water which is highly potable could be used in the canberra drinking water supply.

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