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Victoria: Floods and white-elephant Desal plant starts needlessly, then breaks anyway

Victoria built a desal plant in 2012 that was immediately mothballed because the rains came back and the dams that weren’t supposed to fill, got full. The total cost will be something like $18 – $24 billion.

Last year the Victorian government decided to order some water for fun anyway (or it might have been a PR trick so that people couldn’t mock them for paying for a Desal plant that was “never” used). But on Dec 11, the plant started and immediately tripped a circuit breaker  (see also The Herald Sun). Stuff got damaged, and three weeks later no one is exactly sure why that happened, so it still isn’t running.

Victorian Dams are over 70% full, the state has just suffered major flooding. The Water Minister Lisa Neville promised on Friday that the 50 gigalitres of water (about a tenth of Sydney Harbour’s capacity) that is contractually due to be delivered by June 30 will still arrive on time.” — The Age.

I bet Victorians are relieved to know that the water they don’t need won’t be late.

The costs of the climate panic are still coming:

The order of 50 billion litres will see yearly household water bills rise by $12.

“Daniel Andrews sat around the cabinet table when the decision was made to waste $24 billion on a desal plant we do not need and now does not work,” said Shadow Minister for Water Peter Walsh.

Around Australia about  $1 billion a year is wasted on Desal plants no one uses.

With only 150 years of rainfall data to go from, who could have predicted that 2016 rainfall would be average?

Melbourne rainfall graph.

Melbourne Regional Office rainfall up to 2012.

Any competition for this years government waste award?

Most Useless Flagrant Flop of Government (MUFFOG 2012): Finalist — Victorian Desal

h/t Ian.

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Victoria: Floods and white-elephant Desal plant starts needlessly, then breaks anyway, 9.6 out of 10 based on 103 ratings

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198 comments to Victoria: Floods and white-elephant Desal plant starts needlessly, then breaks anyway

  • #
    Paul Bamford

    We had to have it because “even if the rain does fall, won’t fill our Dams” Tim needs to polish his crystal ball.

    211

    • #
      Peter Miller

      Just another classic case of a government trying to mitigate supposed ‘climate change’.

      It won’t/doesn’t work, it’s based on bad science, it’s pointless and it costs a fortune.

      Why aren’t the people who dream up these idiotic schemes made accountable for them? Saying you are ‘green’ and ‘progressive’ is not an excuse, it’s evidence!

      321

      • #
        Graham Richards

        And their reaction is let’s have a go at the electrical side of it now. See if we can really f@&$ things up this time.

        We’ll let the tax payers really cop it this time. After all we may even be successful in bringing industry to a grinding halt in not one, but to states. We’ll show ‘em who’s boss.

        90

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Saying you are ‘green’ and ‘progressive’ is not an excuse, it’s evidence!

        Oh, I like that! That goes to the top of the list (of one) for the best one-liner of the year.

        80

      • #
        Allen Ford

        Why aren’t the people who dream up these idiotic schemes made accountable for them?

        That may very well happen, at last. Christopher Monckton et al have a paper in the pipeline for publication which calls out a fundamental, mathematical error in the Green Blob’s misuse of feedback theory, here.

        In another video (lousy audio but persevere), he reveals the case for fraud against The Blob: if it claims climate disaster knowing that the claims is false, that is prima facie evidence of fraud. If the it makes a similar claim not knowing whether it is true or false, same result!

        2017 could be a very interesting year what with The Donald let loose and Monckton et al hitting the fan.

        Keep tuned!

        71

      • #
        Kratoklastes

        Just another classic case of a government trying to mitigate supposed ‘climate change’.

        You proceed from a bad premise – viz., that the political class begins its policy deliberations in good faith, and that policy is formulated specifically in order to try and achieve the objectives that are promulgated when the policy is promulgated. That is, that they try their hardest (“even if misguided, as they are on climate change”), driven by deep (but perhaps wrongly-held) convictions.

        I think that’s hogwash.

        Next time you see a policy proposal (or even a policy ‘trial balloon’), just have a crack at switching your premise to

        This policy proposal is the lead-in to yet another scam. These people are parasitic vermin, and their overarching objective is – always and everywhere – to transfer vast amounts of wealth and power to themselves and their cronies. Any social-welfare-enhancing effects of their actions is pretty much accidental.

        If you start from that premise, you will literally never be surprised by any of the raft of stupid-on-their-face-if-you’re-numerate policies… Carbon Taxarion/ETS, NDIS, Gonski/NAPLAN, NBN, Collins class subs and their replacements, the F35.

        None of these would pass muster at the ballot box if even a quarter of the population could competently perform year 9 arithmetic. But they can’t, so they get hosed routinely (and that’s assuming of course that the policy in question is voted on, and not sprung on the electorate ex post facto… which goes double for policies that are a subset of X in “There will be no X under any government I lead”.)

        The common thread to all ‘big ticket’ policies is that a close-knit group of professional parasites gets to buy houses in Pipers Point, Toorak and other places where you have to be a beneficiary of government tilts* in order to afford to live there.

        I spent the 90s analysing policy (quantitatively), and doing so as part of a team that was good enough to be invited by Treasury to help them understand how their own macro model worked. During that time it became staggeringly obvious to me (having been obvious to our team leader for two decades) that policy formulation bore far more resemblance to providing mechanisms for self(and crony)-advancement than it did to any genuine effort to improve actual outcomes for the broad public.

        Rob Sitch’s ‘Utopia’ is not a documentary – in real life, the people above people like Sitch are far more venal and vicious than the characters played by Kitty Flanagan and Lehmo – but it gives a decent hint.

        And of course my routine diclosure: my younger sister was a Senior Prime Ministerial Advisor (to Gillard). She (my sis) has no input into my opinions on politics or politicians (Upton Sinclair’s aphorism applies).

        *: ‘beneficiaries of government tilts‘ includes politicians, bureaucrats and the judiciary, but also anyone whose rate of return is greater than it would in a free market, as a result of .gov-enforced protections.

        Some examples:

        doctors/dentists/lawyers** &c, as a result of legislated labour monopolies (‘no ticket no start’ is bad on a building site… but it’s ‘quality control’ if you’re paying $70 a quarter to get a script repeat for the Pill);

        publishers, authors, software-company owners, as a result of artificial intellectual monopolies (‘IP’ law being a fruitful area of expertise for aspiring barristers).

        super-fund managers/administrators – because of SGL-mandated ‘savings’… which everyone knew at the time would not lead to an increase in national savings rates, since people would simply ‘dis-save’ in non-super accounts to offset their ‘forced’ savings. The SGL was always designed to ‘grow’ the funds-management industry’s FUM, which is why they pushed so hard for it).

        ** The Lovely is a barrister (and prior to that, was a ‘big firm’ Senior Associate), so my household’s income is probably greater than it would be if anyone could hang out a ‘barrister’ shingle and be judged on their results. (If judges were any good, they would not need ecclesiastical robes to give their proceedings undeserved solemnity and gravitas: they would adjudicate in jeans and t-shirts).

        00

    • #
      Dennis

      He would be securing his fishing boat right now with all the heavy rain around his Hawkesbury River waterfront properties (2).

      60

  • #
    LittleOil

    Small typo at end. Should be award not awared.

    Good article. How come MSM never mentioned this?

    Happy New Year to all.

    50

    • #

      LittleOil, there was some MSM mention. Sorry I forgot the links. I’ve added them now to stories in The Age and The Herald Sun on Dec 30. (A good date for people not to notice an event that happened on Dec 11th).

      121

  • #
    scaper...

    I believe we have reached peak stupidity.

    220

  • #
    Graeme No.3

    What I find curious is that no-one seems able, or willing, to give a total cost of each project. They are always increasing in cost towards some vague end point.

    130

    • #
      Yonniestone

      Exactly like Marxism there is no end goal but to create endless creative distractions so the masses won’t notice how much they’re being robbed.

      201

      • #
        Environment Skeptic

        A great way to distract people is to say how much the government will spend instead of saying how much they will borrow. Saying they will ‘spend’ sounds more omnipotent than saying how much they will ‘borrow’. Neat trick isn’t it?? :)

        110

    • #
      Environment Skeptic

      The total cost is the fee the contractors charge and are paid.
      The total debt is the debt that is created so the contractors can be paid.

      Technically, the desalination plant is owned by the government creditors who hold something similar to a deed of title i imagine. Once the debt is paid, the desalination plant is ours in a few decades or however long it takes to pay down the debt.. ??

      40

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        … however long it takes to pay down the debt.. ??

        With or without taking depreciation of the currency into account in the meantime?

        40

        • #
          Environment Skeptic

          Hmm…..I guess that if one trillion dollars is borrowed in US dollars before the Australian currency depreciates by half, then it will later require two trillion Australian dollars to pay for the government borrowing (AKA *spending), so possibly twice as long to pay down the debt.

          You might as well know i continue to be skeptical about the economic environment and what is being done to help it.

          20

          • #
            Environment Skeptic

            Maybe there are some ‘Economic Climate Scientists here that can help better answer the question??

            I continue to be skeptical about the economic environment and what is being done to help it.

            20

  • #
    Graeme

    It’s wrong to say that ALL desal plants in Australia aren’t needed, as we definitely need ours in WA – we just can’t store sufficient water for our population in our dams.

    143

    • #
      Hivemind

      Have you turned it on yet?

      60

    • #
      toorightmate

      Have all the dam builders died?

      150

    • #
      el gordo

      How about running a pipeline from the Ord, its going gang busters at the moment.

      80

      • #
        AndyG55

        Its downhill all the way, shouldn’t be a problem…

        unless the Earth turns upside down, of course.

        121

      • #
        Graeme

        The state govt went to an election with Fitzroy water as a main issue and lost. Pity – I thought it was a good idea. Since then I believe the local greenies don’t want a dam on the Fitzroy.

        00

    • #
      David Maddison

      Couldn’t collected water be pumped into depleted aquifers and stored there?

      60

      • #
        sophocles

        It depends on the ionic load in the river. You don’t want to salt the aquifers.

        71

      • #
        Graeme

        Before the desal plants were up and running, we tried pumping from the aquifers. Lakes started to dry up and the water tasted horrible in summer. So not a good solution. The desal plants now give us good drinkable water.

        72

      • #
        AndyG55

        Graeme, you still get a sizable chunk of water from the aquifers, and will continue to do so.

        You have been taking from the smaller aquifers around Perth, but there is a much larger source to the north in the Gin-Gin area.

        The following pdf is a bit outdated, but with a mix of desal (in time, maybe 3 more plants to the north and south of Perth, probably at Alkimos and one further north and one in the Kennedy area), plus groundwater, plus surface water, you should be able to survive. :-)

        https://www.watercorporation.com.au/-/media/files/about-us/planning-for-the-future/water-forever-50-year-plan.pdf

        72

        • #
          Graeme

          Thanks for the report link Andy. But I have to say that mentions of BOM, CSIRO and modelling were not encouraging.

          00

      • #
        AndyG55

        David, Most recycled water in Perth is currently used in parks gardens and industry.

        But yes, there are plans to pump “A+” treated water and excess Desal water into the aquifers.

        They could pump excess desal water into the dams, but it would evaporate pretty quickly and be wasted. the aquifers is the best place to store excess water.

        30

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Why is the population of Western Australia in the dams? No wonder you have a shortage of water. ;-)

      40

    • #
      Ian George

      South Dandalup Dam is only 1% full at 1200 ML – it can hold some 125000ML. It’s down from 1.6% at this time last year.
      Yet Dwellingup has had nearly 1100mls of rain this year (a little below average but should not have caused such a drop).
      Rainfall for SouthWest WA was above average this year and overall dam storage around Perth has increased from 21% to 27% this year.
      So does anyone know what is going on at South Dandalup, the second largest dam in the area?

      40

  • #
    thingodonta

    Of course they say it was still ok to build the desal plants, because it was ‘insurance’ in case the rains didn’t come. In other words, tails we win, heads you lose, except that the taxpayers get no say in this and have to foot the bill.

    Typical case of socialism using others people’s money until it either runs out or doesn’t work or both.

    132

    • #

      Funny how the Green-Left sees desal plants as ‘insurance’ but not dams. Had another dam been built, our insurance costs would be significantly reduced.

      But then the Green-Left is playing the same game with our energy resources.

      And every, single, thing that the Green-Left implements turns into an abject failure.

      210

    • #
      el gordo

      The ‘Precautionary Principle’ has its cost.

      80

      • #
        Mark D.

        Right! There should be a principle of much caution when using the Precautionary Principle.

        110

        • #
          Greg Cavanagh

          The Precautionary Principle by its own principles can not work or solve anything.

          Regarding dams, Labor did attempt to build a dam. You can guess what the results were.
          http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/m-of-failed-traveston-dam-land-sold-at-auction/news-story/0b0a4fbde367d9c9dc4c28a52065599e

          HALF a dozen sections of land purchased for the failed Traveston Crossing Dam project have been sold by the Queensland government for more than $1.6 million.

          The former Labor state government bought 478 properties in the Mary Valley, north of Brisbane, at a cost of $445 million.

          30

          • #

            That’s like our Victorian cancellation of the East-West freeway link contract. ‘It won’t cost Victorian’s a cent’, said the newly implanted Premier of Victoria. One billion dollars plus later, it will costs Victorians. And a few years down the track, the project will be resurrected at an even higher cost. Meanwhile, the abandoned homes that lay in the path of the freeway have created their own problems.

            50

  • #
    David Maddison

    Please have a look at this excellent short article on the insanity of this project.

    Also, there is a question about whether the water can even be drunk due to excessive boron levels.

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/questions-linger-over-health-risk-from-desal-plant-water-20160526-gp47oi.html

    70

  • #
    Dave

    I thought the cost per year was much larger!

    “Aquasure has a 30-year contract to operate the plant and receives payments from the state government, including $607 million in 2016/17.”

    This is from The Age

    Plus the extra $27 million if they supply water!

    130

  • #
    PeterS

    So many billions wasted. Amazing. In any other field such a waste would be considered either criminal or negligent with serious consequences for those responsible either way. Has anyone done a cost analysis to see if it would be cheaper to ship the water when needed from another country or even to get water from molten ice/snow in Antarctica? Just a thought.

    111

    • #
      David Maddison

      Taking the total project cost at $24 billion and assuming the 50 gigalitres on order will be the only water it ever produces (even though even that would be unnecessary), the cost would be 48c per litre.

      It would be cheaper to buy bottled water at the supermarket.

      131

    • #
      Dennis

      But do voters care I wonder? The last NSW Labor government sold half of the government owned electricity businesses valued at more than $12 billion for $5.9 billion, a loss of $6.1 billion for taxpayers. I have not noticed much public comment or anger about that loss.

      70

      • #
        Dennis

        And after the sale loss the $5.9 billion was reduced to $800 million after Labor NSW retired the debts hidden in those government owned private business’ accounts that was used to pay the Labor state government extra “dividends” used to improve state budget bottom lines.

        30

  • #
    PeterS

    Another thought. If we continue on the path of madness to replace coal with wind and solar for generating our power, what happens when the system fails like it did in SA for an extended period of say days? We all die of thirst AND lack of electricity? Clearly these desal plants are a total waste of money for what they provide. We need more dams. It’s that simple. We can then rely more on hydro power. It’s a win-win for all. Of course the Greenies will jump up and down but who really cares anymore about what they have to say anymore? They are irrelevant and hate the rest of us anyway.

    201

    • #
      AndyG55

      “If we continue on the path of madness to replace coal with wind and solar for generating our power,…

      ….. we won’t be able to run the desal plants anyway. !!

      102

    • #
      Rick Will

      Most industrial plants work best with steady production but RO plants can be operated reliably on an intermittent basis without much loss. So they could be a good load to provide load management for unsteady power sources such as wind turbines.

      Everyone can see the virtue of increasing water storage capacity but most land owners do not want to give up land to provide for the catchment and storage. In rare cases land owners benefit from the water views. Then there is the risk to biodiversity as there is inevitably a spotted face tree fog, or a short tail blue wrasse unique to that area so unacceptable to inundate or reduce environmental flows. There are some great untapped water courses around the Australian coastline. The Mary River is a good example:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveston_Crossing_Dam

      30

      • #
        Dennis

        The Mary River Dam (Traveston Crossing) was a Beattie Labor government political diversion, the dam would have been far too shallow to be useful in the long term because of evaporation rate. Also the Mary River Valley is a tourist attraction and has many productive farms.

        20

        • #
          Rick Will

          The Traveston Crossing Dam was the most economic solution for the long term supply of water to SEQ. The Rudd Federal Government canned the project on environmental grounds.

          The water situation in Queensland in 2007 was dire with Wivenhoe down to 20% of capacity after 5 years without inflow. All options were being considered including sewage recirculation and desal plant, which were eventually built in time for the drought to break. Traveston Crossing Dam had too many environmental hurdles like any water storage dam. The situation reinforces my point that water storage dams are near impossible to build in Australia. Simpler to build desal plants.

          A feature of the Mary River was the regular rainfall in the catchment making it a more reliable source than other locations.

          With the rapidly growing population in Melbourne, the Wonthaggi desal plant will eventually prove an essential service; just built with too much haste and consequential waste in a State where unions rule construction. The decision to build it had bi-partisan political support and strong wider community support coming to grips with using buckets to wash cars; watching their gardens going to dust while reciting “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down”

          30

          • #
            Greg Cavanagh

            The only reason it’s impossible to build dams these days is because of Labor and the Green’s laws which they put in place.

            The solution is to remove those laws from the books, or to give the government a pass on those said laws. They do exactly that on many other subjects; such as beach protection and dredging.

            Traveston would have been too shallow, and the alluvial soil underneath had a high infiltration rate. The dam would have been empty most of the time. Like in a drought when you needed the water; Durr!!!

            The Conondale Valley has long been listed as “future dam site”. But that was finally canned as well on the grounds that the road from Maleny to Kenilworth would have cost too much to construct.

            31

          • #

            Rick, you are doubly wrong.
            1stly, anyone driving up the north shore beaches to double island point will notice fresh water flowing in many places out to sea. The cheapest and most readily available clean water is ground water from the sands in the national park beside the beach. But of the course the Greenies do not like the national park to be touched even though water could be pumped out to supply all the Sunshine coast and Brisbane for 5 years if there was no refill but this area averages over 1500mm per year which would still cause water to flow out to sea when pumping.
            2ndly, there are a number of places in the Mary River catchment that would allow building of deep water dams like the Baroon Pocket Dam which could have supplied the growth of the Sunshine Coast for the next fifty years but the Labor government put in pipes to supply Brisbane so is now only good for twenty five years. (It is now full).Obi Obi Creek is one such area where two dams could have been built. This was a viable option in place of the Traveston Dam in the GHD report which was biased towards government thinking. The Labor government went for the Traveston Dam purely on political grounds to remove farming and grazing and get rid of the Nationals.

            40

            • #
              Rick Will

              The fact that the Federal Labour government canned the Traverston Crossing Dam questions your conspiracy theory about the State Labour motives. If it is the case where is your evidence?

              Also where is the data for the ground water option? You would need extensive testing of flow rate over a large number of bores, over a number of years to make any reasonable estimates of what rate the aquifer could be drawn down while maintaing water quality. Looking at water trickling out of sand dunes is hardly a sound basis for decisions on essential services.

              You have only provided your view on what was the most economic option; no data or project rankings. QWI had made considerable progress on the design and construction engineering of the dam as well as property acquisition when the project was canned. The Traverston Crossing Dam had the added benefit of mitigating flooding of Gympie. which remains a regular occurrence:
              http://www.gympietimes.com.au/news/mary-so-contrary-all-that-water-flow/1757867/#/0

              20

              • #

                The QWI are as bad as the WA Water Corp mentioned above. QW were a guilty party in the Brisbane Floods. The CEO and the minister should have been found guilty of wrong advice, and irresponsible management.
                Consultants GHD made a presentation on the dam options to a meeting of Engineers Australia but then you would not know that because you are not a registered engineer. I have seen a report on ground water which had data from test bores. I can not remember the engineering consultant group involved but I was present at an 1.5 hr long presentation. No one in the labor government at the time had qualifications to understand the technical details. It is a pity the Newman (a qualified engineer)Government was replaced by a do nothing technically incompetent mob. Hopefully the Qld voters will toss them out

                00

              • #
                Rick Will

                What part is not really true – impossibility of building a water storage dam of useful size or there are many failed examples or easier to drill for oil under a city street.

                Any fully fledged industrialist will become a raging greenie if the crown tries to seize property from them for use as a storage dam; if only as a delaying tactic to maximise their compensation. The last one standing inevitably gets the best compensation. The idea of a dam is great until a land owner has to give up property for it or some other inconvenience.

                As I noted here that Traverston Crossing Dam was the most economic option for sizeable long-term collection and storage for Brisbane but was canned by the Federal Government. The state government was acquiring the land; agreements were reached for land acquisition and most of the engineering challenges had been resolved BUT it did not go ahead. There is a long history of planned projects not making it to construction; probably the best known example is the Gordon-below-Franklin.

                00

              • #
                Rick Will

                You seeing a report during some meeting on bores and the actual economic merit of said bores relative to Traverston Crossing Dam does not hold any credibility. If the bores have economic merit over the Dam then there will be public documents that demonstrate that. Traverston Crossing Dam was an approved project by the State government. It was full steam ahead until it was canned by the Federal Labour Government. Detailed engineering had been completed and, as I recall, production slots had been set for long lead items for the water control gates.

                Hindsight affords blissful insight when setting blame for those involved in operating the Wivenhoe Dam prior to the Brisbane floods in 2011. I Googled “cemetafriend warns Wivenhoe Dam operation” of the 16 results none predated 2011 – so clearly you become an expert in hindsight. It is far more challenging to assess risk prior to the event and develop economic mitigation measures.

                With regard to QWI wrong doing, the courts found no criminal negligence with regard to operation of Wivenhoe dam. The courts are yet to decide if there is to be any civil responsibility to settle.

                00

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Also, the more dams you have, the more opportunity there is for tourism. The New Zealand Southern Lakes draw tourists from all over the world, to go water skiing, white-water rafting, para-gliding, etc. Plus sampling and purchasing our brilliant wines from the region, supported by irrigation from the rivers downstream from the dams.

      But there again, we don’t have the entertainment value of ALP and the Greens fighting for ownership of the far left. So I guess New Zealanders can’t have everything.

      100

      • #
        stan stendera

        I’m not going to be sampling any of NZ’s admittedly brilliant wine because of NZ support of the anti Israel UN resolution.

        50

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Rereke:
        you can have our Greens as soon as they are securely packed.
        WAIT! There’s more – your very own Bill Shorten comes as well (to decorate your front yard) and we will throw in a free set of steak knives.

        30

  • #
    David Maddison

    Here is another way to look at costs and alternatives.

    The Russians are builting a floating nuclear power plant with desal plant called the Akademik Lomonosov. The vessel was launched in 2010 and it will begin operation in 2018. It is 144m long, 30m wide, has a displacement of 21,500 tonnes and a crew of 70.

    It has two model KLT-40C reactors of 150MW thermal and 38.5MW electric power each and an optional reverse osmosis desalination plant that can deliver 240 megalitres per day of fresh water.

    Compare that with Victoria’s desal plant that can deliver 410 megalitres per day but the Russian unit can also deliver onshore heat and electricity.

    This vessel is expected to cost US$336 million (A$444 million) and Victoria’s desalination plant cost A$5.7 billion for only 1.7 times the capacity but nearly 13 times the cost. In fact, the $5.7 billion was the claimed cost but as mentioned above its true cost may be as high as A$24 billion.

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    • #
      Rick Will

      There would be a problem mooring then operating a nuclear powered desal ship in Port Phillip because it would increase the salinity of the relatively enclosed water way. Likewise for Sydney Harbour, the Swan River, Moreton Bay, Gulf St Vincent etc.

      Other than that minor technical issue a great idea.

      It could be moored further offshore but there is probably greater prospect of getting locals to drink recycled treated sewage water than drinking water produced by a Russion made nuclear powered ship anchored in rough water off their coastline.

      30

  • #
    StefanL

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
    Adelaide’s desal plant is necessary (albeit expensive) insurance.
    (I can’t comment on other states).

    Our dams can hold only about 1 years’s supply (eastern states have 2-3 years).
    We can’t build any more, there are no suitable spots left in the Adelaide hills, and our annual rainfall is low and unreliable.

    I still remember how worried everyone was in 2007 after years of drought. The SA Government was making emergency plans to bring in drinking water by ships and trains.

    In a prolonged drought, which will inevitably come around again, we can’t rely on the eastern states letting any water flow down the Murray (no matter what agreements have been made) – they will surely look after themselves first.
    When that happens, the people of Adelaide will be very grateful to have our desal plant.

    59

    • #
      AndyG55

      iirc, in 2007 , the water in the Murray at the Adelaide take-out was pretty near seawater saltyness and not particularly clean, either.

      The Adelaide desal plant is probably a good idea.

      Perth definitely, and they will need more as the region continues to expand…

      ….. but the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane desals were a total waste of money, when extra dams would have been a far better and probably far cheaper option..

      162

      • #
        Dennis

        Maybe better management of Murray River water would be the better and more economical plan? Right now and for months past the Murray-Darling has been in flood, the shipping locks withdrawn to the banks to allow the fast flow to proceed down river. And there is now more rain in the north in the catchment area.

        40

      • #
        Rick Will

        It is impossible to build a water storage dam of useful size in Australia. There are many failed examples. It would be easier to drill for oil under city streets.

        31

        • #
          Wayne Job

          Not really true Rick Victoria has ample options for dams,but they have all been blocked by the dumb as dog s%%t greens.

          01

        • #
          Rick Will

          What part is not really true – impossibility of building a water storage dam of useful size or there are many failed examples or easier to drill for oil under a city street.

          Any fully fledged industrialist will become a raging greenie if the crown tries to seize property from them for use as a storage dam; if only as a delaying tactic to maximise their compensation. The last one standing inevitably gets the best compensation. The idea of a dam is great until a land owner has to give up property for it or some other inconvenience.

          As I noted here that Traverston Crossing Dam was the most economic option for sizeable long-term collection and storage for Brisbane but was canned by the Federal Government. The state government was acquiring the land; agreements were reached for land acquisition and most of the engineering challenges had been resolved BUT it did not go ahead. There is a long history of planned projects not making it to construction; probably the best known example is the Gordon-below-Franklin.

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      Graeme No.3

      It would be helpful if the SA government took action to reduce the waste of water in Adelaide from pipe leaks. It was reported last dry time that more water was ‘lost’ in Adelaide than was consumed. Listen to the traffic reports on ABC News Radio** and see why Adelaide is referred to as “the City of burst water mains”.

      **approx. 2 minutes before the hour and half hour until approx. 11.30am EST. That way you can avoid the rest of their output.

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    King Geo

    You have to feel for the residents of SA & VIC with Premiers of the calibre of Weatherill & Andrews spending A$billions reacting to the “non-existent AGW scare”. These are the new breed of Watermelon Pollies – green on the outside & red on the inside – driving their States towards economic ruin by squandering vast amounts of hard earned tax payers dollars on “feel good leftie policies” e.g. mega expensive desal plants & dependence on unreliable “Wind Power” which will, not maybe, force manufacturing industries to re-locate elsewhere, just like what has happened in the dysfunctional EU.

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    David Maddison

    When the VIC desal plant was built it was meant to be only powered by “green” windmills which were built however only the nameplate capacity was installed not their effective power output which would be less than a third of that.

    Of course, windmills are useless to run the desal plant (or anything) because the constantly varying output is unusable for almost everything.

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    David Maddison

    Regarding the lack of suitable geography to build dams for water storage in SA, why couldn’t an above-ground “turkey’s nest” type of reservoir with earth walls be built?

    This is what is done in Israel that has a similar lack of suitable geography and water. Typically the bottom is lined with plastic and sometimes floating balls are put on the surface to minimise evaporation. They also recycle and treat sewage and use it in irrigation. A few projects are mentioned here:

    http://www.kkl-jnf.org/water-for-israel/water-reservoirs/

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      Yonniestone

      Often when questioning the lack of water catchments being built you will get the argument of water evaporation rates verses inflows which sometimes are out of balance either way, my reply is if that were so how do catchments retain water in the first place? because the water that fills them comes from many sources not just what falls directly over it.

      That said using sensible ideas to capture fresh water is an essential approach towards survival of earths varied weather cycles, the mention of a “Turkey Pit” reminded me of our last long drought when water storage was dropping ideas were put to local council and authorities by people who worked and built many of our local infrastructure, the most viable was the creation of a “Turkey Pit” catchment in the lower Yarrowee river where using unused old pipework the pit water could be pumped back up to White Swan reservoir to top up existing supply.

      This idea was ignored because of arguments of cost (it was cheaper than long distance pipelines), environmental (downstream river health was more important than peoples lives), no rainfall (less than a year after this suggestion a huge deluge occurred that did little for storages but sent gigalitres of rainwater down the Yarrowee river ending up the sea at the end of the Barwon.)

      In the coming age of post green lunacy I look forward to seeing the makers leading infrastructure instead of the takers.

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        David Maddison

        It’s difficult to understand why you got two red thumbs for that comment Yonniestone.

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          gnome

          I want to know how catchments get water from somewhere other than what falls on them. Is there a definition of “catchment” we don’t know about?

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            Yonniestone

            I meant inflows from catchments to the main dam/reservoir catchment, might be a regional thing but catchments are often referred to as a large body of stored water.

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            Annie

            I understand catchment to mean the dam and its surrounding terrain, where the water flows from rain and snow on hills nearby. Ours relies on water coming down from nearby hills but we are the last to fill after neighbours’ dams have filled. We wouldn’t collect much from just what falls directly on the dam!

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          Yonniestone

          Who knows David, one thing that concerns me is the lack of water storage as our population grows, water saving and recycling is one thing but not even attempting to solve a certain future problem is beyond comprehension.

          Oh for the red thumbers how about during the last drought Melbourne residents were never hit with stage 4 restrictions while some regional areas were up to stage 10 trying to keep families alive and loosing their livelihoods, the reason? spineless politicians protecting their precious votes!

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      toorightmate

      David M.
      Please stop talking sense.

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      James

      I would head to the south of Adelaide, to the southern coast of Fleurieu Peninsula. The average rainfall in this area is around 1500 – 2000 mm per year, and there are many valleys to build dams. It is not far from Myponga reservoir. Water could be piped to this reservoir, and then it is into the existing Adelaide distribution system. One or 2 dams down there, then Adelaide would be set for water supply for a while.

      But I think they are taking a different tack. Make South Australia such an awful place to do business in, which will shrink the population down to match the dilapidated infrastructure! Do that for long enough, you might match the electricity demand to the true output from the wind turbines.

      James (an ex South Australian)

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        Rod Stuart

        Make South Australia such an awful place to do business in, which will shrink the population down to match the dilapidated infrastructure!

        That is the only rational explanation for such nonsense in not only South Australia but the entire Commonwealth.
        I think it is a mistake to think that irrational behaviour in the recent past is accidental, rather than planned.
        And the planning can be readily discovered in the UN Agendas 21 and 30.

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      Dennis

      Israel even uses storm water from the streets

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      Rick Will

      They are reservoirs holding recycled water in Israel. Israel is making extensive use of desalination to upgrade their water supply.

      A water supply dam requires a catchment in an area with reliable rainfall. Most are built in the headwaters of rivers using the natural topography to support a dam wall or series of walls to close off a valley that has a large collection area and, ideally, a deep water storage pond.

      Such dams are no longer viable in Australia because the environmental permitting can never be resolved.

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    pat

    for me, it was a toss-up between the NBN and the F-35… the F-35 won:

    27 Dec: Australian: Robert Gottliebsen: Time to drain F-35 Joint Strike Fighter swamp
    Trump has had the JSF in his sights since last year but on ­December 12 the sheer ­absurdity of what has been going on with the Joint Strike Fighter was dramatically brought home to the Trump team.
    On that day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Defence Minister Avigdor ­Lieberman and hundreds of VIPs ­assembled at Nevatim air base in southern Israel to watch the ­arrival of the Joint Strike Fighter.
    It was scheduled to arrive at 2.30pm after taking an incredible six days to fly from Texas to Israel. But despite the fact that the JSF had been given those six long days to make the journey the skies over Israel were empty — the strike fighter was late.
    The Lockheed Martin public relations machine raced into ­action and began offering up excuses — none of which made any sense…
    But the Israelis are smart — they’re getting the plane for a ­peppercorn to help convince countries like Australia to stay in as full-price buyers…

    Trump’s strategy is all about dismantling the current US ­military and industrial defence machine that has been corrupted by power. Trump has discovered that it is a swamp that badly needs draining…

    Our gullible politicians were originally told that the Joint Strike Fighter would cost $US40 million ($55.7m) per aircraft. At the time the estimate was obviously flawed.
    Now our gullible politicians are being told that each Joint Strike Fighter would cost $US90m per ­aircraft. While it is more than ­double the first estimate it is just as silly. Both these estimates ignore the total cost of making the Joint Strike Fighter battle ready.
    Treasury discovered real outlays would be much bigger than what was being told to the politicians and are now going for a total cost of about $US190m per aircraft in the forward estimates. But that’s still way off the mark. The Trump Joint Strike Fighter cost estimates appear be above $US290m per aircraft and rising — seven times the original floored estimates. We’ve ordered 72 aircraft so the bill is about $300bn but likely to be much higher…
    Trump’s nomination of the “no nonsense” General James Mattis as Secretary of Defence means the days of playing games are over…
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/robert-gottliebsen/time-to-drain-f35-joint-strike-fighter-swamp/news-story/771153b81b85c155849636eb35154b5f

    so much more could be said about the war machine parasites, parts-makers, etc who have been bilking this project for billions, but i’ll leave it there.

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      Dennis

      That story is a beat up in my opinion Pat. I read elsewhere that Trump suggested asking Boeing to supply upgraded F-18 Super Hornets as an alternative for F-35. Noting that Super Hornet is at present the US front line aircraft used also off aircraft carriers. However it is last generation fighter jet and cannot be compared with the F-35 platform and technology. The F-111 fighter-bomber was considered to be the best of its kind and when retired from service was still leading edge in capabilities it was designed to perform but stealth and other technologies used in F-35 and F-22 Raptor rendered F-111 obsolete. Too expensive to refit F-111.

      Australia now has at least two F-35 stationed in the US where two RAAF Squadron Leaders are learning how to use its capabilities. In performance it is close to Super Hornet however so called dog fights air to air are out of date. The F-35 weapons platform takes far less time for piloting and leaves more time for using the computer systems which include defensive and offensive weapons, electronics jamming, air to ground and air to air 360 surveillance to notify to ground and sea based forces, etc. And stealth technology that makes F-35 invisible to other aircraft which can be brought down from a very long way away.

      MSM stories should be read with caution.

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        stan stendera

        Sorry Dennis. The F-35 for a number of reasons sucks as a fighter AND as a multirole plane (fighter bomber). The F-22 on the other hand…..

        This opinion DOES NOT come from MSM information.

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          Wayne Job

          Stan indeed you are right, so far it is proving a dangerous aircraft to fly. I doubt it will be capable for carrier use without a lot of accidents and much modification.

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    gnome

    I’ll bet the owners were horrified when the Vic Govt asked them to actually provide some water. They would never have expected that, and now they have to do those costly repairs which will eat into their guaranteed profit.

    And thanx to David Maddison at comment 7 above. I had no idea there was so much boron in seawater (I didn’t believe it until I checked a few other references). I certainly wouldn’t be watering any plants with desalinated water, and I would even be a little hesitant about using it at all. For anything!

    I sometimes correspond with people with plant problems and often the problem is excess salt in the water supply, but now I have a new factor to consider. Those boron levels are horrific.

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      Len

      If they could extract the Boron that would be good. I understand that boron is an expensive commodity. The old Halberd wheat variety was boron tolerant on the heavy Gimlet clay soil in the Western australian Wheatbelt.

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        David Maddison

        Boron is rare and is worth US$5 per gram. It is concentrated in nature by processes involving water.

        In nature it is entirely produced by cosmic ray spallation and supernovae and not by stellar nucleosynthesis.

        Perhaps the desal plant would be economically viable if it sold its toxic boron enhanced water for boron production instead of drinking.

        Note that boron is a cumulative poison so there is no safe level of ingestion.

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          David Maddison

          Maybe the desal plant could be used to mine other elements from seawater as well, including gold. It wouldn’t be economically viable in a normal sense but when you get over $600 million per year to do nothing anyway the taxpayer should expect at least some return for that…

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          Graeme No.3

          Boron (as sodium tetraborate) is mined in Death Valley in the USA. It has been used in industrial cleaners and washing powders – the latter particularly appeal to the green-minded as it avoids phosphorus chemicals. It is not expensive.**

          It is also taken as alternative ‘medicine’ for bone strengthening etc. Like all alternative medicines do research before following the enthusiastic claims on the web. It is a known MICRO nutrient, not a mili or macro one.

          It is toxic in excess to most vegetables but you are more likely to find boron deficiency in Australian soils. Capsicums and chillies, sweet potatoes, peas and beans are the most likely to be affected by higher boron levels in the soil.

          http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/26/5/547.full.pdf may be of interest if you are growing onions or garlic. The indiction is that levels above 5mg per Litre in water should be avoided.

          ** the reluctance to use phosphorus in cleaners arose from eutrophic pollution in run off water in the USA in the 1970′s leading to various substitutes, most of which were worse for the environment.

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            Annie

            Years ago (17/18) I noticed that a young liquid amber wasn’t growing into the usual conical sort of shape but was rather wide and flat-topped. From somewhere, though I cannot remember where, there was the suggestion that the soil might be boron-deficient. I added some around the young tree and it fairly quickly took on the conical shape and is a good-sized healthy specimen with its conical shape today.

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              Annie

              I sat by it a short time ago and had a good look at it. It is conical but not well shaped lower down; sulphur-crested cockatoos and wind have a lot to answer for.

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            Environment Skeptic

            Boron is in high demand by the nuclear industry..

            From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_moderator
            “Moderator impurities

            Good moderators are also free of neutron-absorbing impurities such as boron. In commercial nuclear power plants the moderator typically contains dissolved boron. The boron concentration of the reactor coolant can be changed by the operators by adding boric acid or by diluting with water to manipulate reactor power. The Nazi Nuclear Program suffered a substantial setback when its inexpensive graphite moderators failed to work. At that time, most graphites were deposited on boron electrodes, and the German commercial graphite contained too much boron. Since the war-time German program never discovered this problem, they were forced to use far more expensive heavy water moderators. In the U.S., Leó Szilárd, a former chemical engineer, discovered the problem.”

            But there is a further problem
            ………………………………….and it is with respect to the corrosion caused by Boric acid that is used as a neutron moderator in nuclear reactors…..

            “Boric Acid Corrosion of Carbon Steel Reactor Pressure Boundary Components in PWR Plants (Generic Letter No. 88-05)”
            https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/gen-letters/1988/gl88005.html

            And
            “Fission Stories #131: You Can’t Fix Stupid”

            http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/fission-stories-131-you-cant-fix-stupid

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              Environment Skeptic

              Correction:……sorry about that………. Boron (Boric acid)is used as a neutron absorber, and not a neutron moderator. If neutrons are absorbed, the nuclear reaction slows down, and if the neutrons are moderated, they are slowed down, and then this ‘slow-down’ increases the chances of a neutron fissioning with other neutrons…..in my best understanding. If a nuclear power plant melts down, the mess is usually covered in Boron to kill the neutrons which mike cause further fissioning

              But there is a further problem ………………………………….and it is with respect to the corrosion caused by Boric acid that is used as a neutron moderator in nuclear reactors…..

              “How to Stop a Nuclear Meltdown” From: http://science.howstuffworks.com/nuclear-meltdown3.htm
              “In Chernobyl’s case, emergency teams pumped in hundreds of tons of water to cool the reactor core. Next, they dumped
              boron, clay, dolomite, lead and sand on to the burning core by helicopter to put out the fires and limit the radioactive particles rising into the atmosphere. In the months that followed, they encased the ruined plant in a concrete shielding often referred to as a sarcophagus.

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    David Maddison

    I took this video today that illustrates the noise of the corona discharge from a high voltage power line. I was pleased that the power line represented the essential element of industrial civilisation, electricity, currently under attack by the Marxist Greens. I was a little saddened when the thought occurred to me that a small amount of this electricity may be from civilisation-destroying windmills. Video was taken in Melbourne, Australia region.

    https://youtu.be/KiPRMYpLStE

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    David Maddison

    Trump will do what he can to unravel “green” energy in America.

    To what extent can he do this given that many green power schemes will be protected by contracts and subsidies simply cannot be terminated without paying large compensation?

    Similarly for Australia, if we ever get a competent PM, what is the situation here?

    In which of these two countries could green power be more easily undone?

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    David Maddison

    QUESTION for power system engineers:

    Has the increase in windmill power caused less frequency stability in the grid (i.e. increased variation from nominal 50/60 Hz).

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    • #
      Rud Istvan

      Yes, by definition. Wind provides no grid inertia; variability requires it be asynchronous generation. So every bit of wind electricity means some synchronous generating source has been reduced, lowering overall grid inertia. And grid inertia provided by the flywheel effect of synchronous spinning generator mass) is what provides voltage and frequency stability (the two being intimately related, wiki explains the math).

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  • #

    And all because the High Priests of Green prognosticated incorrectly … as usual. Same problem up in Queensland.

    Don’t expect anyone to be blamed. Expect them to be promoted.

    Kakistocracy

    kak·is·toc·ra·cies. Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.

    Sometimes I wonder whether my country, Australia, ever actually had a chance in the human race? … the more I learn about how our country worked/works, the more I wonder if we ever got out of the darn stall! … no revolution … no civil war … never fought for anything except freedom from Japan in WWII (WWI was about London gaining oilfields in the middle-east) … and now the universities are full of permanent outrage mobs of leftists with ideological rabies, who seem to think that hating their own cultural framers is the trendiest thing since LSD, free love, and beatnik music festivals.

    God help us all, we are truly the land down-under (lying on its head in a ditch).

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    David Maddison

    Regarding windmills. I can think of no possible use for them in a free market. For what application would a mentally competent individual pay more to get electricity which is available for less than one third of the time and when it is actually producing tbe output is widely varying all the time?

    This is why we got rid of the windmill the first time around, about 250 years ago as soon as the steam engine was developed.

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      Robert O

      Actually the SE wind turbines averaged approx. 1000 MW from a nameplate capacity of 3900 MW for the month of December; that’s 26% , and production is dropping as Summer takes hold.

      Talking about wastage the Qld. govt. announced the go-ahead for the Clare Solar Farm near Ayr. $400 million for a 100 MW facility to provide electricity for 42,000 homes. It will sell its power to Origin Energy. According to my maths that’s 100 x 1000 x 17% x 24 x 365 = 148,920,000 Kwh each year, or about 3500 Kwh per household each year. So the households will only use this electricity from about 8 am. until 4 pm. and the rest of the time it will be coal or gas generation. At the moment I am getting about 16 Kwh from my 3 Kw rooftop PV, but came the rains it will only be about 8 Kwh or less, so I guess their figures are optimistic.

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    Kim

    As an engineer :-
    1) everything has to be tested. If there are any problems they need to be identified and fixed.
    2) machinery needs to be used (to be turned over) and to be maintained. Otherwise they seize up.

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    Harry Twinotter

    Hydrology bores me. But that chart of annual rainfall does show a deep and long-lasting drought.

    The drought broke when it did, but what if it didn’t? I think the desalination plants are a reasonable insurance policy.

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      AndrewWA

      Nobody disputes that something had to be done to safeguard Victoria’s water supply.

      This report suggests that there were cheaper “insurance” options available.

      Water Supply Options for Victoria

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        Robert Rosicka

        Starting to get miffed at all the comments about Victoria’s water supply issues , it’s Melbourne people , I know there’s a joke somewhere that says Victoria ends at Kalkallo when heading north .
        Australia is a land of droughts and flooding rains , and despite flimflams prediction and dribble the more dams we build the greater insurance we have against the lean times .
        Benalla is a good example of a town that looked at the problem of water security without blinkers on and built two dams up in the hills which should give them security for years to come .

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          Another Ian

          Robert

          Sounds like that old saying

          “You can tell a Victorian but you can’t tell them very much”

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      AndyG55

      No, building the dams on the Mitchell and McAlister Rivers would have been the cheapest, most effective insurance policy. And they would have been used even between droughts. Only the child-minded green agenda got in the way again.

      The Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne desal plants will only ever be hugely expensive white elephant sucking money from the taxpayer that could have gone to much better things like hospitals, road, schools.

      It has already been noted that anything to do with science or engineering, bores you…

      .. explains your lack thereof.

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      AndyG55

      Twotter, you should stick to subjects you know something about.

      ie.. stay quite… always.

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      el gordo

      ‘The drought broke when it did, but what if it didn’t?’

      Since time immemorial Australian droughts have been followed by flooding rains, it would have been far better to drink a tall glass of cold water and ignore AGW theory.

      ‘I think the desalination plants are a reasonable insurance policy.’

      They are expensive white elephants and Flummery ends to be vilified.

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      • #

        ‘I think the desalination plants are a reasonable insurance policy.’

        Not if they break when they are first turned on Flummery … and you know that we don’t manufacture the specialist parts, in Australia, that these things need to work, and by the time the parts get here from Japan or wherever, it’d be raining again.

        Reminds me of the recent break in the Basslink power cable to Tasmania where I am. They didn’t even have a ship capable to uphaul the cable and conduct repairs! And we live on an island continent, and we don’t have one Australian deep water cable repair ship! Darn cable was broken for months whilst the government all pointed at each other, talked about investigations, and the Greens and Labor prognosticated about the hydro dams running dry with no backups whatever because we are 80%+ dependent on hydro on this little island.

        In reality, we were perfectly fine, then the biggest rains ever and some major flooding came, and then the dams were full; actually overflowing … and if the last Labor-Greens government hadn’t shut down our major backup gas turbine generator because they are afraid of CO2, then there wouldn’t have been a perceived problem in the first place.

        We can’t allow C02phobics to direct government planning … they will destroy us. THEY are the very apocalypse they preach.

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      Mark M

      “The drought broke when it did, but what if it didn’t?”

      If the drought didn’t break, then the BoM 97% alternative science would have been correct:

      2008: “IT MAY be time to stop describing south-eastern Australia as gripped by drought and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent, one of the nation’s most senior weather experts warned yesterday.

      “Perhaps we should call it our new climate,” said the Bureau of Meteorology’s head of climate analysis, David Jones.”

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      toorightmate

      Harry, Old Mate,
      At the end of every drought there is a good rain.

      I love a sunburned country…….

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      clive

      Lincoln – “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

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      Environment Skeptic

      “Wimmera harvest 2016: record grain production tipped “
      http://www.mailtimes.com.au/story/4338340/high-production-tipped-for-season/

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    Richard Ilfeld

    The biggest problem is not so much building the plant. Even if ti is a terrible decision, reducing the precautionary principle to
    drawing two cards to an inside straight, the bigger problem is that “the damn thing doesn’t work”. Do we hear echoes of the same problem with
    the things we expect government to do, or even must do? Yes, we do – as in the F35 noted above. The damn things don’t work. One may hate programs like
    Obamacare in the US, but within the politically charged debate is a now unremarked fundamental: the government couldn’t put up a functioning exchange
    website event though there was a commercial one already functioning smoothly in the marketplace.
    All over the world, there are pockets of very dry land supporting people using desal for their water. From Saudis to submarines this is a pretty well exercises and proven technology – except governments all over the world still try to chart their own course and build plants that fail in myriad of ways- there is one in Florida about two miles from where I’m writing that manages about 30% of its nameplate capacity … in its second iteration because the first delivered 0. AS with all such projects
    one can find preliminary or contemporary opinions of professionals int he field, detailing the pitfalls and correctly predicting the issues, ignored by the political types.

    I can only conclude that the primary purpose of any big government project is to stand as an argument for smaller government.
    There are, of course counter examples. But, as failure is pervasive, and counters are anecdotal, I rest my case.

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    u.k(us)

    Give me someone else’s money to play with, and I’ll gamble all day (and all night ).

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    Harry Passfield

    HYN, Jo, and all who sail in here.

    I figured: Most Useless Flagrant Flop Delivered In Victoria Excess to Requirements.

    :)

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    Harry Passfield

    Doh! HNY!!

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    Another Ian

    More government efforts

    “But, the article does actually give something close to the numbers one would like to have to evaluate another similar investment, and oh boy are the numbers awful:

    In 2014, a solar-powered cycle path opened in Krommenie in the Netherlands and, despite teething problems, has generated 3,000kWh of energy – enough to power an average family home for a year. The cost of building the cycle path, however, could have paid for 520,000kWh.”

    http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2016/12/solar-roads-remember-these-when-environmentalists-accuse-you-of-being-anti-science.html

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    Population growth is the main problem. Slow down immigration and the problem will largely go away.

    As for these needless desal plants, it is obvious that the bankers and politicos got together to work out a scheme that would benefit both parties. It happens in banana republics all the time.

    A good read is:

    “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_an_Economic_Hit_Man

    It explains rather nicely how bankers organize these massive heists.

    Another good historical prototype was the Suez Canal:

    “In November 1875 the debt-ridden Khedive of Egypt wanted to sell his 176,602 out of the total 400,000 shares in the Suez Canal to pay interest on his large European Loan, which was 55% of his revenue.”

    http://www.lastampa.it/2007/07/18/blogs/views-across-the-channel/the-anglo-french-rothschilds-suez-war-JvjQRG3R85kyPBdTFm7PlO/pagina.html

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    Robber

    According thee the Victorian DEPI the project uses about 90 megawatts of power from the grid to operate the plant and the water transfer pipeline to produce 150 billion litres of water per year. All operational energy is 100% offset by renewable energy certificates, so we pay double!

    So the water produced is almost liquid electricity. In the future with the closure of Hazelwood, will we have the power available to run the Desal plant?

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      Robert O

      Do renewable energy certificates produce some useful Kw?

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      Annie

      DEPI…isn’t that the department of ever-changing names? Isn’t that one gone now? Lots of expensive new branded vehicles and clothing to keep suppliers in jobs! Is DELWP the latest incarnation?….known as Delwop or Dewlap around here.

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    Brian Hatch

    The dam levels are misleading. The Thompson Dam is 69.3% full, but is only ever 80% full. The remainder is for flood mitigation. In reality, Thompson is 86.6% full so Melbourne water storage is very high at 80%. The Thompson holds 57% of Melbourne’s water. Cardinia and Upper Yarra Dams are also used for flood mitigation so the reality is a little higher, by about 4%.

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      gnome

      The figure is even more misleading at the bottom end. As P A Yeomans wrote back in the 1950s – any dam with water in it at the end of the longest drought in its district is too big and cost more to build than it should have.

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    David Maddison

    Almost official: 2016 will be the hottest year EEEVVVUUUHHH (until the end of 2017).

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/2016-days-away-from-sealing-record-hot-spot-20990

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    David Maddison

    I have said this before but I would like to reiterate:

    If we ever get a competent government we should have Nuremberg-style trials to trial and punish those responsible for the wastage of billions or trillions of dollars on “green” energy schemes which were put in place without proper engineering analysis or indeed scientific evidence of human-induced climate change.

    The charges would extend to responsibility for the deaths of people due to energy poverty.

    In the US hopefully Trump will do something similar when he drains the swamp.

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    TdeF

    People have forgotten that in Victoria, rather than build dams, the Labor government also built a $750Million North South Sugarloaf pipeline against the wishes of the farmers who owned the land and protested strongly. It was by edict. Of course the drought ended before it was ever used. Then only once in the middle of torrential rain to dump water into the flooded Goulburn river, making the flood much worse. When asked why they were releasing the water at the time, the responsible authority responded that it had been booked six months before. What’s most of a billion dollars for nothing at all? A pipe. Unlike the Pyramids, the Easter Island statues and the Sphinx, it is not even a tourist attraction. Perhaps for far less money we could have had Giant Lemon.

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    RoHa

    “the dams that weren’t supposed to fill, got full. ”

    Comma after subject clause error. Why do people keep doing that?

    Should be “the dams that weren’t supposed to fill got full.”

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    RoHa

    “who could have predicted that 2016 rainfall would be average?”

    We should never expect anything to be average.

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    Robber

    In Singapore they dammed the harbour to keep sea water out and collect run off water from the city and treat it. But instead of calling it recycled water it is branded as new water. Stopped Singapore having to rely on too much water from Malaysia. They also built a desal plant for $200 million.

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      PeterS

      The capital cost of the Victorian plant was over $5 billion. Yet according to world figures the the capital cost of desalination plants is approximately $US1m for every 1,000 cubic meters per day of installed capacity. The Victorian plant’s output is around 400 megalitres per day. That means it should have cost about $US 400 million or about $560 million. So why did it cost almost 10 times more than it should? Where did the remaining $4.6 billion or so go to? If we use the Singapore plant you mentioned it puts out around 140 megalitres per day, which makes the Victorian one around 3 times larger in capacity. In that case it should have cost around $600 million, which happens to be very close to the other figure I calculated. I smell a rat.

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        Rick Will

        Firstly the Wonthaggi plant competed with the mining industry for skilled labour. A qualified construction welder in those days was earning around AUD250k per year in the mining industry. Secondly the unions own Victorian construction work. It is an accepted cost of construction in Victoria. There has never been a Bjelke-Petersen in Victoria to challenge the strength of the unions. Most people in Victoria consider that is a blessing.

        This story indicates the sort of rorts that developed on the Wonthaggi site:
        http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/workers-at-wonthaggi-desalination-plant-slowing-work-rate-for-more-cash/news-story/0436df509c7ea8a207c68cb185978a81
        Combining union rorts with high competition for skilled labour causes costs to skyrocket. Just prior to the GFC most large construction projects in Australia were not viable because labour costs were out of control and lead times on equipment and materials were out to years. I recall moderately sized diesel engines were out to 36 month waiting period. The GFC provided a temporary reprieve but it was not long before demand for skilled labour was exceeding availability.

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          Robert Rosicka

          The desal plant has been declared a remote area for taxation and therefore allowances , this would have added and still does to the costs .
          There is only one other place in Victoria that has this special treatment that I know of .

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          • #
            David Maddison

            Yes, a “remote area” that is ten minutes drive from a town of 20,000!

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            • #
              Robert Rosicka

              David I know but obviously the union had some involvement , the other one I know of is maybe 30 Klms from two towns and within eyesight of one of them .
              Alright for the workers I suppose no one grumbles at the tax concession and the allowances paid .
              As for right and wrong not my area of concern but as you have said the desal plant is not that far from a town .

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                David Maddison

                Robert, there were, and possibly still are cleaners working at the site earning $100k…

                The unions have or had a nickname for the place, something like “the goldmine”.

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              Another Ian

              As we’re about 150 km from two towns with populations in the couple of thousands do we now qualify for remote remote allowances?

              And do the boys in the NT qualify for at least remote remote remote allowances?

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              • #
                Robert Rosicka

                Makes you wonder doesn’t it Ian , can’t really say how I found out about the two or the location of the other one don’t want to inadvertently get someone in trouble but I guess they would be on the tax office website .
                I have worked in Tennant creek years ago at a mine and the remote area allowances and tax concession were welcome but the tanami desert where the mine was is very isolated .
                Would rather have worked at the desal plant but not the other one instead of the NT .

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            • #
              AndrewWA

              No different from the Workers on the East Link getting paid a daily “remote area” allowance.

              Stealing from the public purse.

              People were transported for life for much less.

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        David Maddison

        Good point Peter. If we had a leader with a clue like Trump the Aussie taxpayer wouldn’t keep getting ripped off.

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        • #
          Another Ian

          David

          I was just reminded of that old riddle

          How do you spell hungry horse in 4 letters

          MT GG

          IMO current leaders abbreviation says a lot

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    pat

    surprisingly very little CAGW activity to mark off on your calendar this year…read all:

    30 Dec: ClimateChangeNews: Ed King: Climate calendar: key dates for your 2017 diary
    Clean energy fans meet in Abu Dhabi 14-15 January for the annual International Renewable Energy Agency assembly, a chance to take stock of investments in low carbon power through 2016 and explore how these can be ramped up in 2017…

    World leaders, CEOs and charity chiefs will be among those in Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum from the 17-20th. Bank of England governor Mark Carney is slated to be hosting a roundtable on climate change and risk…

    At 1700 local time in Washington DC on the 20th Donald Trump will take his oath of office and become president of the United States…

    November
    Fiji hosts the 23rd UN Conference of the Parties from the 6-23rd. Don’t bother with the sun cream or swimming trunks. It will be in Bonn, Germany…
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/12/30/climate-calendar-key-dates-for-your-2017-diary/

    30 Dec: NewAmerican: William F. Jasper: Global Warming Alarmist NY Times Discovers Cold Is 17 Times Deadlier
    Even the New York Times, one of the biggest sources of fake news on anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, or AGW, occasionally gets facts straight and the story right. Or, at least, partially straight and mostly right. Such is the case with the Times’ recent stories by Jane E. Brody on December 19 and December 26 regarding the death toll risks from cold weather versus hot weather. In her December 19 column, titled, “Beware: Winter Is Coming,” Ms. Brody cited an important study from The Lancet, the British medical journal, that found “Cold kills” as she put it — and at a rate 17 times that of hot weather.

    The Lancet study (LINK) was the result of a mammoth project involving over 20 researchers from many different countries analyzing data from 384 locations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and the USA. They analyzed over 74 million deaths in various periods between 1985 and 2012…READ ALL
    http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/24962-global-warming-alarmist-ny-times-discovers-cold-is-17-times-deadlier

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    pat

    1 Jan: Adelaide Advertiser: SA blackouts: What’s wrong with South Australia’s energy market and infrastructure?
    by Sheradyn Holderhead and Adam Langenberg
    Related LINKS:
    •Chinese plan to build gas-fired station in SA
    •Key SA employers nearly shut down as power prices surged in storm

    IT’S hard to know who or what to blame in South Australia when the lights go out or your soaring electricity bill lobs…
    The national energy market operator is yet to release its final report into what caused the whole state to go black. But what we know from its preliminary reports is that nine wind farms shut down after a series of shocks during the storm on September 28. That created a sudden, huge demand on the state’s interconnector with Victoria, which tripped it…

    The September blackout and July price spikes have highlighted more structural problems with the state’s energy supply. Unlike the eastern states, South Australia has no coal-fired power plant after the Northern Power Station closed last year, and wind makes up about a third of power generated here. While wind and solar has the capacity to meet demand, it cannot provide a stable base load because it only generates when the sun is shining and the wind blowing. This has meant the state has become particularly reliant on power imported from Victoria through the Heywood interconnector…
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/sa-blackouts-demystifying-whats-wrong-with-south-australias-energy-market-and-infrastructure/news-story/347e33eae322675f1e3c20a076fb1999

    1 Jan: NY Post: Bill Sanderson: National Grid bumps up gas bills for city residents
    More than a million National Grid gas customers in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island face three years of wallet-busting rate hikes starting Sunday.
    A National Grid home-heating customer in New York City who uses 1,000 therms of gas per year faces rate increases of 9.4 percent this year, 9.2 percent in 2018, and 10 percent in 2019, company data show.
    Customers in the Rockaways and on Long Island face smaller hikes…

    “They are entirely correct to worry about customers opening up their bills and their eyebrows hitting the ceiling,” said Richard Berkley of the Public Utility Law Project, a consumer watchdog.
    It has been a decade since the state last raised National Grid’s rates for delivering natural gas.
    National Grid says its infrastructure costs are growing, and that the hike in its charges for delivering gas will buy upgrades to gas lines and other equipment…
    http://nypost.com/2017/01/01/national-grid-bumps-up-gas-bills-for-city-residents/

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      Peter C

      IT’S hard to know who or what to blame in South Australia when the lights go out or your soaring electricity bill lobs…
      … what we know from its preliminary reports is that nine wind farms shut down after a series of shocks during the storm on September 28. That created a sudden, huge demand on the state’s interconnector with Victoria, which tripped it…

      The September blackout and July price spikes have highlighted more structural problems with the state’s energy supply. Unlike the eastern states, South Australia has no coal-fired power plant after the Northern Power Station closed last year,

      I think that the answer is right there. No Coal Fired Power Station and No Nuclear either!
      What more do they need to know?

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    pat

    2 Jan: Australian: Geoff Chambers: Renewable energy goal could cost Queensland $19bn, says LNP
    Opposition energy spokesman Michael Hart said the government’s independent expert panel had adopted “heroic assumptions” in failing to accommodate a federal government that opposed a carbon price or emissions trading scheme.
    In its draft report released in October, Mr Hart said the panel assumed a national carbon emissions scheme of between $25 a tonne and $80 a tonne of CO2 across three scenarios.
    He said the panel’s suggestion that the impact of a 50 per cent renewable energy target on electricity prices would be “broadly neutral” was based on flawed ­calculations…
    The Gold Coast MP said the Palaszczuk government’s plan would put Queensland’s energy security at risk and trigger higher electricity prices for households, businesses and industry…

    Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey described the LNP’s stand on his government’s 50 per cent target as “obsessive opposition to renewable energy and resistance to climate change”.
    He also rejected claims the expert panel had used flawed methodology to reach its conclusions…READ ON
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/renewable-energy-goal-could-cost-queensland-19bn-says-lnp/news-story/857e74cde57ef16770667c02b2e3c587

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    pat

    leader of the CAGW world:

    2 Jan: HellenicShipping: Reuters: China coal output, demand to rise even as excess under fire
    China expects coal output and demand to increase by 2020 even as it aims to cut 800 million tonnes of outdated capacity as the world’s largest consumer of the fuel ramps up years-long efforts to tackle smog and make its manufacturing sector more efficient.
    Under its five-year plan for the coal sector, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner, said on Friday it is targeting output of 3.9 billion tonnes of coal in 2020, up from 3.75 billion tonnes in 2015.
    Consumption will increase 3.5 percent to 4.1 billion tonnes from 3.96 billion tonnes over the same period, the NDRC said…
    Major coal-producing regions in the west of the country – Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi and Xinjiang – will boost production to 2.34 billion tonnes, accounting for almost 60 percent of domestic supplies in the next three years, the NDRC said…
    http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/china-coal-output-demand-to-rise-even-as-excess-under-fire/

    2 Jan: HellenicShippingNews: Feature: India aims to revive oil, gas output in pursuit of energy security
    India is witnessing double-digit growth in oil product demand on the back of sustained GDP growth and rising disposable incomes.
    The country imported 197.5 million mt (4.33 million b/d) of crude oil in the first 11 months of 2016, up 10.5% year on year. India’s refinery throughput has risen 7.4% year on year to 4.88 million b/d…
    To revive the upstream sector, the Indian government in March unveiled a new exploration policy — the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy, or HELP — aimed at attracting investment in a sector that has seen little progress since Reliance’s KG-D6 deepwater gas discovery in early 2000…
    According to government estimates, various elements of the new policy will help monetize reserves to the tune of 6.75 Tcf of gas, 15.7 million mt (115 million barrels) of oil and another 20.6 million mt of oil equivalent gas…
    India recently concluded its bidding round for discovered small fields, which attracted considerable interest with 134 bids submitted for 34 contract areas from 42 companies, including five foreign companies.
    This has raised hopes that India will be able to boost domestic production in the coming years…
    According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, India’s sedimentary basins hold an estimated 205 billion barrels of oil and oil equivalent gas, out of which only 82 billion barrels had been so far established, highlighting the unexplored potential.
    India is also stepping up efforts towards increasing the share of gas in the energy mix from 6% to 15% over the coming years, according to government officials…ETC
    http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/feature-india-aims-to-revive-oil-gas-output-in-pursuit-of-energy-security/

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    Macspee

    During a visit to the desal plant my wife asked if the nearby windfarm supplied power but was told, no, the power comes from the grid some kms away.

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    pat

    just remembered this. that global warming is, apparently, working wonders. let’s have more of it:

    2 Jan: Australian: Sue Neales: Rural prosperity: farming golden era has dawned
    Australia’s agriculture sector is entering a “golden era” of prosperity and growth, boosting the national economy, farmers’ incomes and the fortunes of sluggish regional towns and struggling country businesses.
    National agricultural production will exceed $60 billion in value this year, for the first time. Food and rural exports are already worth $48bn to the economy, cattle and sheep prices are at an all-time high and an unprecedented 52.4 million tonnes of wheat, grain and pulse crops have just been harvested.
    Farmers who have been struggling for years with drought are starting to pay down debt, restock their grassed properties and even put away savings.

    Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce describes this year as the dawn of a “golden era” for Australian agriculture that he expects to last at least five years.
    “Agricultural exports are now second only to iron ore and bigger than coal, in importance to the national economy; most Australians don’t realise that,” Mr Joyce told The Australian in an exclusive interview…
    “We haven’t seen anything like this right across all regions and sectors — beef, lamb, grains, wool, sugar, kangaroo meat, live cattle, chickpeas, even the dairy industry is recovering — for almost a century. The good times are finally here.”…

    Mr Joyce said the green shoots of recovery started a couple of years ago in some parts of southern Australia, but it had taken a stunning cropping season and good rains throughout 2016 that had broken the drought in Queensland and northern NSW, to bring widespread prosperity to farming communities.
    Higher prices on the back of surging export demand are also directing a greater share of profits to Australia’s 135,000 farmers…
    TOMORROW: How towns are turning their futures around.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/rural-prosperity-farming-golden-era-has-dawned/news-story/65250028f4cb059a91198b9e13c469ad

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    Desalmyths

    Water order placed by the government to gloss over the facts starting to be made public that the power cable to the plant was being repaired and had been for the last 2 years.
    Massive damage caused at 2 sub stations supplying power to the desal when turned on. Translated by the water minister as a circuit breaker tripped nothing to see hear move on.
    When the plant starts the water does not only go into Cardinia it will also go directly to the main water supply of Melbourne.
    How this government lies and lies.

    [Email coming. Thanks. I would like to know more including where you get that information.-- Jo]

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    John PAK

    I’d suggest that the water issue has no quick or cheap fix but an integrated approach for the future might give us some margin for droughts in Au.
    There are a few glaring issues in Au.
    1).The bulk of our water goes to irrigation and we are incredibly wasteful about it but the Israelis know how to utilise water efficiently.
    2).Urban storm-water run-off is far easier to put through a desal plant than sea-water but urban design would require extensive storage facilities.
    3). Attitudes to water use must change. It is a valuable resource and needs pricing accordingly.
    Andrew at #25.1 links to
    “Water Supply Options for Victoria” which has some useful numbers. One chart suggests urban water costs are set to more than double.
    Household rainwater tanks are expensive per litre but will surely become a small part of the urban water plan. I have 150m2 of steep tin roof and ~15,000 gallons of tanks and have never run out of water but I do have a dry compost toilet (which is only possible on larger blocks of land). Society supplies neither water nor sewage disposal infra-structure to Berambing, – a cost often over-looked when considering the economics of on-site water harvesting and disposal.

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    boof

    The desal plant is not operational and never has been so the Victorian Government must be due a massive refund.

    00