Well, it turned my farm into a pile of sand/Yes, it turned my farm into a pile of sand

Dam levels hit 50%.

And to think, all it took was two devastating storms and one very near miss. They laid a bunch of waste, and they’re going to cost (insurers) a tonne of money, but having rain actually fall on a catchment area was nice. So, saved? Not even close – 50%?

Non-Australians may wonder why the celebration of our tanks being only half-full. Well…

NSW storage

That was from NSW Water Information. Compared to those numbers, 50% is a flood. It hardly means we’re saved, however: farmer’s dependent upon irrigation are still mostly screwed. So-called ‘moisture deficits’ have not been affected greatly (Soil Moisture Deficits are, as the name suggests, moisture the earth needs and doesn’t have. In Australia, this means the rainfall is sucked up by drought-stricken ground long before crops or animals can benefit). Dams in the ACT only went to the low 30 percentages. Water allocations for farmers dependent upon the Murray-Darling Basin are still going to be cut practically to zero, and the federal government is still going to take it over.

Water restrictions are still in force in NSW, and the desalination plant (that one that was too important to be publicly debated) is still going ahead. This was/is quite unpopular – NSW undertakes very little recycling or waste reduction, has the appearance of unfettered high-density exapansion in housing, and went straight for desalination. Along the way the state government declared something call critical infrastructure:

The proposed plant has been declared “critical infrastructure”, allowing it to bypass the normal approval process, so that the Government can fast-track its construction.

“By designating the project as critical infrastructure, we can carve 12 months off the planning and assessment timetable,” he said.

In May, Mr Knowles made it clear in Parliament he was determined to abandon stringent environmental requirements for controversial projects such as the desalination plant because NSW’s economic health depended on business being able to work with certainty, a minimum of risk and low transaction costs.

Desalination is clearly a part of the landscape, now. Perth has one, South Australia is going for one, Brisbane is on for one, as is Melbourne. Clearly there is a mentality of trying to preserve the myth of our national anthem, with its bloody golden soil, and beauty rich and rare (sitting, unfortunately, atop coal, gas and uranium).

Will desalination save us just as rainfall in Australia dries up? I doubt it. Desalination is geared towards supplying secure futures of potable water. That isn’t going to help agriculture, it isn’t going to help the water table, and it isn’t going to save the country. Just ask China.


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