Vic Minister: No more dams, but 5m more people great!

Victoria water minister has ruled-out building any new dams, claiming that climate change and lack of rain fall will render them useless. From The Australian:

Water Minister Lisa Neville says water in the state’s rivers will halve by 2065, citing this forecast in her refusal to build even one dam, even though over that period the state’s population is expected to double.

Rather, she said, Victoria would rely on its high electricity-consuming desalination plant, from which it has ordered $81m of water this year…

Ms Neville told The Australian that, instead of money for new dams, she would be happy to take federal funds to expand that $3.5bn plant’s production by a third…

Ms Neville told The Australian: “The dams we have already are in the best places to collect a high yield of water — any new dams would mean less water for all and would be unlikely to capture enough water to be worth it.

She said the last major dam built in Victoria, Thomson Dam, was “originally built to droughtproof Melbourne” but “has only filled three times in its history — the last in 1996”.

In 1983, the year the dam started to fill, Victoria’s popul­ation was four million, with Melbourne accoun­ting for nearly three million. Since then, the capital’s popul­ation has passed five million, and the state has 6.5 million people.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ central estimate for Victoria’s population in 2066 is 12 million.

So how will Melbourne produce enough water when its population more than doubles again to 10.3 million people by 2066 on the back of mass immigration?

I guess we’ll have to build several more energy-sucking and environment-destroying desalination plants, which will dramatically increase incumbent residents’ water costs.

Another prime example of how the ‘Big Australia’ mass immigration policy is wrecking living standards.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. I thought these guys didn’t believe in climate change?
    But I wonder how long it is until Macq/TCL start building desal plants and killing it like the early infrastructure stuff they did?

  2. I guess we’ll have to build several more energy-sucking and environment-destroying desalination plants, which will dramatically increase incumbent residents’ water costs.

    I think you’ll find the term is legacy citizen.

  3. A couple of very dry summers and a few 100klm north windy days 45 degree c and Melbourne will burn to the ground.

    Care factor ?

  4. The Horrible Scott Morrison MP

    This is a non-issue because Labour voters don’t take baths or have showers (until they end up in prison).

  5. Arthur Schopenhauer

    The Minister has been told that there will not be enough water for Melbourne by 2026. The Desal Plant can only pump water to the South East suburbs and allegedly, there are already some ‘lucky’ Melbourne residents drinking ‘recycled’ water. (They just don’t know it.)

    Recycled water if full of PFAS, SSRIs and oestrogen, not to mention a multitude of other chemicals that make their way into the sewage system. It’s impossible to get these chemicals out of the water in an economical way. In some cases, it is simply impossible. A cocktail of carcinogens straight into the mouths of children. FFS!

    • FYI:

      The water will be treated with reverse osmosis as a final barrier treatment, which will basically remove near-everything except water and salts; macromolecules (like oestrogen) are very unlikely to get into the final water.

      You are right about the costs, though: producing drinkable water from sewerage is expensive.

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      Burbwatcher, the water IS being treated with reverse osmosis and NOT everything is getting filtered out. For example, waterproofing agents for hiking clothing contain PFAS. When they washed, some of that PFAS goes to the sewage. The PFAS gets through the filter system. The water is deemed safe, because they don’t test for PFAS, and many other emergent chemical toxins.

      Nobody here will be surprised that only a limited number of “known” contaminants are tested for, and Australia has the most generous guidelines for environmental toxins in the OECD.

      Around 80,000 new chemical compounds are introduced into global supply chain each year. Their long term impact on human health is not tested and their interactions are not tested.

      • Forrest GumpMEMBER

        Too late.

        PFAS is already in the sea water, particularly around where the Desal Plant is near Wonthaggi. This is from the oil rigs in Bass straight
        PFAS never breaks down.

        Those in Sydney don’t fare any better. There are already health warnings advising local fishermen not to consume some of the species of fish caught in Botany bay as they are already highly toxic from PFAS.

        Not to worry. unless you live in the bush next to a river that will never be affected by climate change thats never had any industry nearby (Particularly oil and gas) ….or fire foam test facilities within 50km… Then you’re good,.

        Tips on where NOT to go:

        PS is there NBN on KIng Island?

  6. matthew hoodMEMBER

    We’re still waiting for the Hume Weir and Lake Buffalo to be finished as planned….what’s another 50yrs.

  7. What the fvck is wrong with these people? Labor, Liberal, Nationals, they’re all stupendously incompetent.

  8. “I guess we’ll have to build several more energy-sucking and environment-destroying desalination plants”

    Energy is heading into negative charging during the day because of all the Solar generation. Only generate water when it is paid to do so by the power generators!

  9. Mr SquiggleMEMBER

    I actually got sucked in by this argument. i.e. that “there is no point in building any new dams because climate change means it only raining half as much as it used to…’

    If we build a new dam, and it fills up to only 30%, because of climate change, we’ll still have more water than we did before the dam was built – won’t we?

    • But someone downstream from the dam will have less. Damming is just moving water around. In fact, everything concerning water is about moving it around. Water will not run out, it does not vanish. It just ends up in places where it is of no use to us (e.g. the sky, the ocean, a flood in the Gulf Country etc)

  10. david collyerMEMBER

    Vigorous rewriting of history here. Thompson Dam has a tiny catchment that by happenstance was enough to fill the dam early on under fortuitous and concentrated rain events. Thompson is a long-term storage bladder, meant to be fed from rivers further East. Tarrago, Toorongo, Tanjil, Tyers, Thomson, Avon, whichever, were to be piped and pumped to Thompson Dam when in flood with minimal environmental consequences. Clever really.

    Because the Thompson filled so easily, the narrative changed – as in ‘rain follows the plough’. The pipe and pumps capex was diverted to more pressing concerns.

    To now build the pipes and pumps won’t suit Greens who want wild rivers flowing entire to the sea. Yet they also want heavy migration. The Vic government will now build more desalination plants and hypothecate the desal power to renewable energy with a contract. Never mind that total electricity consumption will be significantly higher than otherwise and oblige the coal plants to operate harder for longer.

    Poor Fellow, My Country.

    • Re only renewable energy used to run the desal plant….
      Can desal plants be simply switched off and quickly and easily restarted? (Genuine question – I know little about the practicalities)
      I guess my second question would be what will be the cost of the water if the desal plant only runs, at best three or four hours a day and on many (most?) other days they’d not be turned on at all. Showers once a week? Bets the Labor and Green MP’s aren’t planning on being a part of that. It would be just for the Deplorables.

  11. In another life, I did an identification study for new water storages in Gippsland. There are no obvious good sites left.
    Swapping Melb treated sewerage for potable water lower in the Thompson/LaTrobe catchment is the most likely alternative. It still is a reasonable pumping job to move water from Melb to east of Traralgon. However, not much different from pumping up from the Wonthaggi desal plant pr over the divide from the Goulburn catchment. There is very limited uncommitted water north of the divide.

    Perhaps a good spot for a new desal plant would be at that well known spot Gunnamatta, next to the sewerage outfall pipe so the treated water gets diluted before desaled and recycled 🙂