Harvest wa­ter wisely

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

WE HAVE a heap of ex­perts com­ing to Townsville on July 20 to dis­cuss what we North Aus­tralians want as dis­played in the Gov­ern­ment white pa­per.

As a North Queens­lan­der for over 80 years, I know we have abun­dant wa­ter in the North but must harvest it wisely and use it for ir­ri­ga­tion and in our homes, but also to gen­er­ate hy­dro power.

This means we must place suit­able- sized dams ei­ther in the rivers, creeks etc or use pondage dams where pos­si­ble be­side the main streams.

In Townsville, as our pop­u­la­tion in­creases, we can­not rely solely on the Ross River to fill the Ross Dam ev­ery year, but we can use it as a gi­ant stor­age area pro­vid­ing we feed it from creeks and rivers from our neigh­bour­hood such as the Bur­dekin, Keel­bot­tom, Star, Dou­glas and Run­ning River.

Even though the Bur­dekin has many valu­able trib­u­taries, they can be har­nessed for wa­ter and elec­tric­ity.

The first pri­or­ity would be a high dam at Hells Gate on the up­per Bur­dekin.

This dam would also sup­port ir­ri­ga­tion and hy­dro power with sup­ply west­wards, as well as pos­si­ble piped wa­ter across a 350m con­tour over Her­vey Range plateau through a hy­dro sta­tion at the base of the moun­tain and the wa­ter piped into Ross Dam.

As an al­ter­na­tive, a suit­able-sized pipeline should be con­sid­ered run­ning through a hy­dro power sta­tion from the present Bur­dekin Dam straight to Ross Dam. The ex­ist­ing al­ter­na­tive for emer­gency use uses a pump at Clare through a chan­nel to a pondage area near the Haughton River and again pumped to the Ross Dam. This sys­tem will not cope in the fu­ture.

Un­for­tu­nately there will be peo­ple who will ar­gue against these ideas but un­less we de­velop the North it will, in due course, be taken from us by peo­ple from other coun­tries, so I trust the gov­ern­ments will be fair dinkum and get on with the de­vel­op­ment of wa­ter in North Aus­tralia. GARTH HAR­RI­GAN, Aitken­vale.

KEEP­ING PACE: More dams for ir­ri­ga­tion and power gen­er­a­tion are needed in the North.

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