Tamworth sucks rivers dry. Demands 40,000 new migrants

The NSW regional city of Tamworth is currently facing Stage 4 water restrictions, with the Chaffey Dam at just 15.6% capacity after experiencing record low inflows.

Today, The SMH reveals that Tamworth has sucked the Peel River dry:

The once-proud Peel River – also described as a “glorified creek” by those who know and love it – is the lifeblood to the city of 62,000, which is heavily dependent on agriculture and was facing the prospect of running dry in six months without urgent intervention…

Mayor Col Murray said the city had no groundwater and had run out of alternatives.

“You can’t truck water to a city like Tamworth, it’s just not an option,” he said. “You would have to have a B-double load of water unloading every six minutes, 24/7. That’s just not practical – you wouldn’t have trucks available and … where would you get the water?”…

Hilariously, Tamworth’s authorities are determined to lift the region’s population from 62,000 currently to over 100,000 as quickly as possible:

At this rate it will take Tamworth until about 2073 to reach the 100,000 population target.

The local government area grew by just under 1 per cent from 2017 to 2018, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows. Tamworth Regional Council has an ambitious plan to shave at least three decades off that.

“We need to increase the growth rate to a bit over 2 per cent,” acting mayor Phil Betts said. “It is an ambitious target but it’s possible…”.

Tamworth Mayor Col Murray also believes that a growing population is needed to solve Tamworth’s water crisis:

While water is a major concern for the city presently, the mayor said a growing city would demand government investment in a greater security.

“I would argue we have got no chance of increasing our water security without having population growth,” [Mayor Col Murray] said.

“That’ll force it to happen.

“I have absolutely got no concerns that there’ll be water for the future, providing we have got the plan and got the population growth to strengthen it.”

You cannot make this stuff up. Tamworth is already running out of water. But somehow we are not to worry about the extra demand that would come from 40,000 (60%) more people, especially in light of climate change, which is expected to lower rainfall and increase evaporation.

Remember, Tamworth is located far away from the ocean, meaning that water desalination is not available.

Water scarcity remains the elephant in the room of the population debate, and the key issue that ‘Big Australia’ boosters deliberately ignore, including Tamworth Mayor Col Murray.

Tamworth also illustrates the lunacy of the Morrison Government’s ‘migrants to the bush’ policy. Sending thousands of people to the interior of the driest continent on earth is a clear recipe for disaster.

Leith van Onselen

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

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Comments

      • They will be judicial and honest with the use of all existing resources, infrastructure and services, as we have seen so far.

        • HadronCollision

          They’re going to be judicial about it? That sounds serious.

          I hope they’re judiciously judicial!

          • There are some certain vibrants who I swear haven’t figured out the benefits of old spice, let alone a weekly shower. So I’m sure this water rationing thing won’t be an issue.

      • Nope. I’m about to sign a multimillion consulting role with ScoMo’s new lean government agency to bring the wonders of otjize to Australia It’s been used by the Himba since … well before the Aboriginals even came to Australia so that you don’t need to wash with water. We have big plans to role it out across all cities in due course as it’s far cheaper than building dams or pipelines etc (despite my & the consultants huge pay cheques … actually it’s not cheaper it just appears that way due to the wary the accounts are reported) so soon the residents of all Aussie cities will be able to cover themselves in otjiz (ps adds vibrancy to white skins too)

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himba_people

      • Given my experience on the train each day water appears to be optional as regards personal hygiene for some of the vibrants.

  1. I think the political logic is as follows:

    The government will source water saving migrants from dryer climates. If enough of these migrants move to regional areas enough water will be saved to fill the dams.

    But you are right. You could not make it up.

    • There is no logic in their decisions. May as well assume the brace position and kiss your taint goodbye.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      This may throw some light onto their problem.
      https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/after-two-years-without-rain-this-town-sucked-a-river-dry-20191203-p53gft.html
      Chaffey Dam has reduced from full capacity in mid-2016 to 16 per cent following two years without rain.

      During summer, half the amount of water released from the dam never reaches the end user as it is lost to evaporation, trees, alluvium and other unknown forces during its 50-kilometre journey into town. The pipeline is expected to extend Tamworth’s water to mid-2021 if it does not rain in the meantime.

      Water will be periodically released for environmental purposes, to sustain fish and platypus populations downstream.

      The big unknown is whether ceasing the river will also have an effect on groundwater reserves, which irrigators have long claimed are unconnected to the river. But Cr Murray said hydrologists had advised council that groundwater and surface water were interconnected, which could explain the large transmission losses.

      IT’s the irrigators stupid!

  2. They don’t have enough water for the people they have currently, so the best solution is to import more people?

    Such an amazing and well thought out plan would never have occurred to me, that’s why these people are leaders, visionary plans like this. How good is straya!

    • With hotter and longer summers that cook your brain alive, you will have more visionaries going forward.

  3. The good citizens of Tamworth can all die of thirst for all I care – they voted for this, and they keep voting for Barnaby and his party. This is the same Barnaby Joyce who part owns a water rights company based in the Cayman Islands.

    These stupid voters are getting what they voted for. They can all learn the hard way and maybe die and win a Darwin award.

  4. So they add to population and the water magically appears? A more modern form of the “rain follows the plow” delusion.

  5. According to economists, our water markets will “manage water scarcity while supporting economic growth” and “enable water to flow to the most efficient uses”. If that’s true, I’d go long on Almonds, short on Tamworth.

  6. Not to worry. Come January the music festival is on and everyone can brush off the negativity and get drunk and laugh while trying to take selfies as they feel dizzy spinning around with dehydration as they find a nice background shot without dust, smoke and fire.

  7. That mayor have a background in economics perchance? The assumption that if there is enough demand for water it will somehow be magicked into existence seems like something an economist would believe. Along with the idea we can have infinite growth on a finite planet, or that banks just handle money, they don’t create it.

  8. A common rebuttal to this is that the majority of water is used by industry and agriculture – nothing to do with population. I am not sure how to tackle this perspective? Thoughts? I usually spin that what are we meant to do? Shut down industry so we can support more people without jobs?

    • Still comes from the same source regardless of who actually uses the water. When it’s gone, it’s gone for everyone.

  9. That is exactly what they say about public transport.

    “if we double the population, we will magically get better public transport”.

    In 1928, it was decided that Doncaster and Glen Waverley should get railway lines. 90 years of immigration later, Doncaster still does not have a railway line!

  10. I have absolutely got no concerns that there’ll be water for the future, providing we have got the plan and got the population growth to strengthen it

    Ah…these blokes are into planning cargo cult magic. If you want more water, just plan to have it and it will appear. More planning fixes everything. Meanwhile import more people, as that can only increase the amount of planning being done.

    I have developed a plan to have a lot more sex in 2020. Hopefully my plan will produce more moisture in my AO than Tamworth’s seems likely to. I’ll be providing regular updates on the progress of the plan during the course of the year.

  11. ““I have absolutely got no concerns that there’ll be water for the future, providing we have got the plan and got the population growth to strengthen it.”

    Where do we dig these effing idiots up from?

      • lolol. Nah, just not stupid enough to understand it, and take it from me, that’s saying something!

        What I don’t get is how he can make those comments and not be severely embarrassed to see them in print. The guy’s a true moron.

        • With hotter and longer summers that cook your brain alive, you will have more of these going forward.

          Go Straya!!

      • Indeed. All visionaries know that the solution to too much debt is even more debt.

        Common sense, right?

  12. immigrants to the regions, and a Deathstill or two to extract the much needed water!
    the guys a visionary.

  13. Lake Gordon in Tassie just called!
    Said to tell those morons in office to fuggedaboutit-they’re 29 meters from full.
    Pipeline to mainland?
    Also said ” we gotcher pipeline right here-dangling.”