Turtles, Lungfish, Cod doomed-Dam to go ahead

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Sdaji

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Hi Sdaji,

I don't think I misunderstood what you were saying and I fully appreciate you are on our side!

I was simply asking if you intended to say water instead of dam, that's all.....

You didn't necessarily have to delete the 'lengthy response', I would have been quite happy to hear your opinion on this matter. Please feel free to pm if you have anything you would like to say about it!

I hope all interested parties here will work with us to try prevent this environmental 'catastrophe', as it has already been a very difficult battle for us over the last 18 months and it is not going to go away any time soon.

Kind regards,

Gab

No, I did mean to say dam, unfortunately it is critically needed. The other solutions are either difficult to sell; people don't like to drink recycled sewage and although they claim to be interested in conservation, they'd just quietly rather drink rain water and let a few animals they'll probably never see in the flesh go extinct, or, they are too expensive, such as desalination plants or long distance pipelines. If you ignore the horrific environmental damage it would cause, the dam is probably the best option for the area's water supply. We might not be getting much rain by historical standards, but rain will always fall. Look at how much water is flowing along the Brisbane river at the moment and into the ocean. It's all being "wasted".

Ideally we'd have a doubled water system, with high quality drinking water to be used where it is needed, and lower quality water for other things. Ideally we'd be catching a lot more of the water that falls on the city itself, rather than having it run off our roof tops and roads and into drains which flow into the ocean. Ideally... well, a lot of things would be different. There are many solutions to the water problem without building the dam, either expensive or unappealing. Obviously in this case, the environmental impact of building a dam is just too severe to warrant it being built, but unfortunately I can't see an easy solution. I am realistic enough to understand that there are times when we need to allow a few species to go extinct in the name of 'progress', but this is one of the cases where we would be better off evacuating half of the city than killing the species in question (obviously that is a solution which is impossible to sell to the population). Whatever the alternative is, we just can't let this dam go ahead, but what is your proposed solution to the water issue?

What this issue boils down to is convincing the government (which involves convincing the wider community in order to convince the government that it will be a popular opinion) that the Mary River catchment is important enough to warrant spending extra money and/or drinking recycled water to avoid destroying it. Part of that will be identifying the best alternative water solution.

Also, it seems that most people just can't understand why these species are particularly important. Educating the public in this respect is probably almost impossible as most won't be able to properly grasp the concept of biodiversity (most will forever say "each species is equally important, isn't it?" and probably find it offensive if you suggest otherwise).

Perhaps another tact which would help is pointing out the people who will lose their homes and businesses. While I sympathise with those people, the reality is that the species are important enough to make them irrelevant, but perhaps not so in the eyes of the government and wider community.
 

sebbie0983

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I agree with your point Sdaji, what people don't realise is that any water we drink, shower with or do whatever with is recycled water, whether it comes from the sky or out of a recycling plant. If people aren't given the facts and are plainly asked if they'd prefer recycled water or not recycled water it's quite obvious what their answer will be. They think new or old, clean or dirty, even though we do live in a democracy we can't always have our choice, that wouldn't be very economical, they should issue recycled water regardless of the opinion polls and do the right and logical thing, regardless of how the public views them
 

aftcra

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Hi again,

You might find it interesting that desal. has very little environmental impact......compared to all other water supply options, if powered by ‘green-energy’! The plant in Perth is a great example with water chemistry readings taken 50 m from the discharge pipe showing a salinity increase of only 1%, not much really. Apparently sea creatures congregate near the outlet as well, as the increase in water movement stirs up some food and nutrients. The Perth Desal. plant came in under budget and was completed well before the scheduled date. The good thing too is once a plant is completed the fresh water is available with the flick of a switch. (If approved, Beattie's dam will be completed by 2011 and then they have to wait for the next 'uncommon rainfall event’ to fill it......dams never fill with your usual seasonal rainfall as seepage, evaporation and other factors take the water as quickly as it falls)!

The other thing with Desal is energy use. Perth's plant is completely powered by renewable energy in the form of a Wind Farm and they actually sell 1/2 to 2/3 the energy back to the Perth power grid. Being close to the sea though, other green power options could include tidal, current and wave turbines.

The way I look at it (this is very simplistic), the Earth is an enclosed system, water can't escape the atmosphere so the water that is here now is the same amount of water that was here when the planet was dominated by rainforest and the average rainfall all over the globe was much, much higher (provided the oxygen and hydrogen cycles have remained the same). If desalinated water was used to irrigate all the dry continents and rainforest was restored, theoretically the sea should still be within acceptable salinity levels. Also, Desal does exactly the same thing that the Sun does through evaporation.

The problem is with our rainfall. The trees that assisted the rainfall to reach further inland previously, are not as numerous as before and a lot of the rainfall falls out at sea. Additionally, the concrete jungles we create are usually close to or on the coast as everyone wants that ‘million dollar view’ and it is close to the beach for recreation. Often the hot air currents from our concrete jungles force the cloud to dump the rain too close to the coast, which then flows out to sea in the form of wasted storm water.

Food for thought!

The plant in Perth was constructed in an environmentally sensitive area but all testing has proven acceptable and within normal limits. Compare this to the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, the possible extinction of the Yangtze River Freshwater Dolphin because of it and the fact that even the project leaders of the now completed dam admit that it is possibly going to cause an environmental 'catastrophe' for the sake of economic gain.

For more info, please visit:

http://www.probeinternational.org/catalog/three_gorges_probe.php

http://www.publish.csiro.au/?act=view_file&file_id=EC122p8.pdf

http://wivenhoesomersetrainfall.com/mary_val_travestonn.htm

http://www.water-technology.net/projects/perth/

Mr Beattie's dam legacy should never happen; the budget has increased to $2.7B from $1.7 (and rising). That's $1000 per man, woman and child in Queensland just to build it and then the cost per megalitre will be 3-4 times higher than the water obtained through the Perth Desal Plant.

A dam at Traveston Crossing would be on an alluvial flood plain……very leaky and large surface area. There is already a dam in a tributary of the Mary River, in a deep gorge and on good bedrock……not leaky and minimal evaporation. The other option is to raise this (Borumba dam), the land was purchased 40 years ago and there are no lungfish or endangered turtles to worry about!

The simple answer for Brisbane is to use a combination of rainwater storage and recycling for industry, rainwater storage and water-wise education for residents and top up the supply using Desal powered by ‘green-energy’ to alleviate water restrictions. Then, if still necessary, raise Borumba Dam.…..PROBLEM SOLVED!!(And all this would probably end up costing us [taxpayers] a lot less than one dam at Traveston)

Take care and bye for now,

Gab
 

Sdaji

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Gab: that all sounds pretty good. Do you have a rough idea of the estimated costs of water from the dam as opposed to the desal plant? You say that the cost of water in QLD will be 3-4 times higher than the water obtained through the Perth desal plant, but how would the costs compare between a Brisbane desal plant and the proposed dam? Water is so ridiculously cheap, increasing the price by a factor of five wouldn't bother me, in fact, I am offended that we are charged so little for it - it's basically free, which gives no one (at least in the private market) a financial incentive to be careful with it. Realistically, they're probably more likely not to use green energy to fuel a desal plant if one is built, but in this case that wouldn't be something to worry too much about.

Presumably a desal plant is going to be much more expensive both to set up and to run. If what you say about the topography and geography of Traveston Crossing and Borumba is correct, why would they even bother thinking about building the proposed dam? Surely there is more to the story; even politians should be able to understand that a dam which is better and cheaper (even ignoring the environmental impact) is a better dam to build!
 

Ozzie Python

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I agree with your points sdaji. Unfortunately the fact is Brisbane, and most of QLD, is contuining to grow rapidly in population and so is the demand for water. Whether it be now or in 10-15 years time there is going to be a need for another dam before we dry up what small supply we have, which in turn is going to result in destruction our native fauna and flora.

Gold Coast has allready started construction of a de-sal plant. If you do some research into it you will find that conservation groups have rallied against it due to the greenhouse effects it could cause due to the massive power demands required to run the plant. They have also looked into a plant at Pimpama and Coombabah which will utilise wastewater as an energy supply (basically produces gas).

There are many alternatives, pipelines are being built for recycling water and for those of us in the industry they are keeping us very busy. IMO what it comes down to is the government are finding alternatives to get the water, but also need somewhere to store it. I just hope they sort it before we are dry, and along the way the can minimise the environmental impact. Unfortunately they have more things to consider than just wildlife in the area, like human conservation, financial impacts to the economy etc etc.
 

Sdaji

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I agree with your points sdaji. Unfortunately the fact is Brisbane, and most of QLD, is contuining to grow rapidly in population and so is the demand for water. Whether it be now or in 10-15 years time there is going to be a need for another dam before we dry up what small supply we have, which in turn is going to result in destruction our native fauna and flora.

Gold Coast has allready started construction of a de-sal plant. If you do some research into it you will find that conservation groups have rallied against it due to the greenhouse effects it could cause due to the massive power demands required to run the plant. They have also looked into a plant at Pimpama and Coombabah which will utilise wastewater as an energy supply (basically produces gas).

There are many alternatives, pipelines are being built for recycling water and for those of us in the industry they are keeping us very busy. IMO what it comes down to is the government are finding alternatives to get the water, but also need somewhere to store it. I just hope they sort it before we are dry, and along the way the can minimise the environmental impact. Unfortunately they have more things to consider than just wildlife in the area, like human conservation, financial impacts to the economy etc etc.

I'm no bleeding heart. I understand that people need to drink water, eat food, live in houses, etc, and I also understand that it is human nature to do things like squander resources on petrol-hungry cars, eat inefficiently produced foods, waste electricity in absurd ways, etc etc. I know that most people are almost impossible to educate and are extremely selfish. That's fine, I accept I can't change that and I don't jump up and down about it. By all means, build dams and send species extinct where necessary, but the lung fish really is something too special to lose - it's not that I personally think it's cute or have some special affection for it, it's that this fish is so unique. Biologically, it carries the conservation value of thousands of 'regular' species, it is such an important piece of world's biodiversity. I don't like seeing any species go extinct, but in most cases it doesn't really change much. I know it's difficult for most people to understand, but this isn't just a case of stupid hippy tree huggers wanting to save some obscure and unimportant species, this time it actually is important.
 

Ozzie Python

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If only you could get that through the premiers thick head.

Vote 1 for "Sdaji".

The thing i find annoying about them building a dam, apart from what they are going to potentially wipe out, is the fact that luck will have it that once it's built it will never rain anywhere near the dam again
 

aftcra

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......but the lung fish really is something too special to lose - it's not that I personally think it's cute or have some special affection for it, it's that this fish is so unique. Biologically, it carries the conservation value of thousands of 'regular' species, it is such an important piece of world's biodiversity. I don't like seeing any species go extinct, but in most cases it doesn't really change much. I know it's difficult for most people to understand, but this isn't just a case of stupid hippy tree huggers wanting to save some obscure and unimportant species, this time it actually is important.

I agree totally, the thing is that the turtle is almost as important and unique. Mary River turtles may not hold the key to curing any diseases or explain how our ancestors left the water but they still are recognized as one of the most ancient lineages of freshwater turtle and are definitely amongst the oldest within Australia.

We don't really know enough about them to write them off just yet. Breathing through your butt (instead of talking through it, like our politicians) is pretty amazing if you ask me!

The Mary River has a fish that breathes with lungs and a turtle that breathes with gills (bursae), there was obviously something very special happening here between 365 and 200 million years ago!

Kind regards,

Gab
 

Radar

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I've just posted that note online where a huge bunch of my friends will see it, most of them will probably send it on to their other friends as well. I've got a meeting with the head of school on monday, I'll bring it up with him then.
 
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Something to do with the extreme shortage of water...

Often, the stupid greeny do gooders often attempt to prevent developments which really do need to go ahead. Unfortunately that means that when a project like this comes along, which really shouldn't go ahead, the powers that be are so used to hearing the pleas of the greenies that their cries fall on deaf ears, especially as the water issue is such a critical one. This is one of the projects which genuinely does need to be prevented, despite the massive need for the dam. Because of the massive water problem, and because of the do gooders' habit of crying wolf every time a blade of grass needs to be cut, stopping this one is going to be a mighty task.

yes, as opposed to improving our current unsustainable usage, lack of recycling and treatment and other options... right? it's all the greenies and bleeding hearts!!! :p
oh and the unchecked expansion of the human population, because we're the only thing that matters ;) bugger sustainability!
 

PhilK

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No way is this dam going to be stopped. No amount of 'No Dam' plastic triangley signs will stop it...
Makes me sick that it is going ahead..
 

Sdaji

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yes, as opposed to improving our current unsustainable usage, lack of recycling and treatment and other options... right? it's all the greenies and bleeding hearts!!! :p
oh and the unchecked expansion of the human population, because we're the only thing that matters ;) bugger sustainability!

The reality is, people living in western countries are going to squander resources. Recycling water might be a good option, but while alternatives exist, people won't accept it. Sure, the expanding human population is the underlying issue, but unfortunately we can't just snap our fingers and change that. The reality is that western civilisation is not curently sustainable. It's not a case of being able to stop western civilisation from destroying anything at all, the best we can hope to do is make sure that it doesn't destroy the most critical things, and unfortunately that sometimes means standing aside while they destroy some of the less important things. That's not a nice reality, but reality it is.

What do you mean by "it's all the greenies and bleeding hearts!!!"? The reason they're a problem here is that they are always crying wolf every time someone wants to build anything or step on a blade of grass. If they scream at the top of their lungs over nothing, people get used to it and they can't scream any louder when something genuinely bad happens. Unfortunately, they often don't even stop to think about what they're doing and it's not unusual for them to protest against things which in the bigger picture are actually beneficial for the planet, which even further kills their credibility.

If you can solve the problems by reducing Brisbane's population and/or convincing the population to drink recycled water, brilliant. If not, and you want to help, try to convince people to go for an alternative to this dam.
 

jack

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phil, don't be a defeatist, if enough people make enough noise than the dam can certainly be stopped.
 

PhilK

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I'll believe it when I see it mate.. If they don't listen to rhyme or reason, a bunch of foot stampers won't help..
 

mattmc

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i dont agree with the dam but the freshwater species program should still be underway.
"WE WILL BUILD A FRESHWATER SPECIES PROGRAM FACILITY BUT ONLY IF WE BUILD A DAMN WHICH WILL IN TURN WIPE OUT THE SPECIES"
thats basically wat there saying.
 

falcon69

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dam busters

yes i agree with jack,..come on Phil you shouldn't give up just like that..a lot of people of worked bloody hard to try and stop this bloody dam being built..if enough people make some noise someone has to listen,,have you signed the petition Phil, every signature doesn't count or have you printed and signed the letter to send..everyone here needs to sign it we, are a group of reptile lovers and love what we do,love our reptiles,all of them our snakes our turtles beardies etc..so those who haven't signed it really should if the love the reptiles they keep..and want something special,for the future..no one wants this to go ahead but we as a whole have to try and help were we can weather it be signing writing a letter it doesn't matter because it the end know that if the dam does go ahead ,and when my kids grow up i can say at least we tried and least i tried to do something...
 

hornet

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craig i will get that letter printed and off asap, this dam cant go ahead or it will be a huge loss to us all, we will lose species and we will never get them back, hatcheries can breed them but if the habitat is destroyed they will never reproduce them selves.
 
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