Month: December 2018

Interactive Map of Revised Bradfield Scheme

It is really amazing what can be done with geographic information on the web now. Above is an interactive Revised Bradfield Scheme that I did up in a few hours using Queensland Globe for editing, and ArcGIS for sharing. ArcGIS allows a paste into a web document or a web app so I will certainly be looking into that in the future.

Click on the plus or minus to zoom in or out. All locations are approximate. The legend for the above is as follows.

The shaded green polygons are dams: Hells Gate Dam in the north and the two storages Lake Buchanan and Lake Galilee in the south. They are connected by a red line which is the northern collector aqueduct, harvesting flows from the Burdekin river and creeks along the way to the main storages. The green lines are the distribution aqueducts, transferring water from the two storages to the main northern areas of the black earth country from Hughenden to Richmond and Julia Creek and the southern distributor to Longreach and Winton. Blue lines are watercourses – of course.

The red dots are open water monitoring stations that provide daily flow data. The black square is the approximate location of Adani Mine which may also potentially draw water from the scheme. The opaque light green areas are protected environment such as national parks – demonstrating the scheme does not impact any existing protected area.

Zoom in far enough and the contours come into view. Please note the locations of the routes are approximate at present. There is a great deal of work to be done to refine the scheme as we are at a preliminary feasibility assessment stage.

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Categories: Book Bradfield Scheme

A new route for watering the Murray-Darling Basin from Queensland

Here is an alternative route for an aqueduct into the Murray-Darling basin developed by Jason Hall. This follows the route from the Herbert and Hells Gate down near Charters Towers to Lake Galilee, where it branches to the Mitchell Grass Downs and heads south to Barcaldine, Blackall and Wadsworth, the scheme low point at 200m AHD. It then branches via a pipeline to Charleville and further south via the Bulloo River valley.

Jason indicates that the entire scheme has an average fall of 20m every 100k (ideal 1:5000) with only a 50km pipeline into the St George area (if there was enough demand). The aqueduct would be capable of delivering 2000GL per annum, but more would be available depending on seasonal supply factors and other catchment intakes.

Thanks, Jason!

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Categories: Book Uncategorized

Increasing cotton production in Australia with an inland aqueduct to Bourke and St George

This nifty poster from Cotton Australia is annotated with the new and existing cotton production areas that would potentially benefit from the Bradfield Scheme.

In the Northern Murray-Darling Basin, cotton is grown mostly in the south in the Darling Downs, St George, through to Bourke and Walgett.  It is worth noting that many areas have seen no production this season due to drought.

The controversial water buybacks in the Condamine-Balonne catchment took place in the St George region. The purchase of almost 30 gigalitres of water was to secure significant environmental benefits for the Lower Balonne, including the Culgoa and the Narran Lakes — a Ramsar-listed wetland of international importance.

Cotton growing areas around Bourke and St George could benefit from additional supply via a Bradfield Scheme, and potential new areas of production around Charters Towers, Muttaburra and Aramac could be opened up to cotton production.

In terms of production, Australian cotton is of consistently high quality, almost zero contamination and offers short shipping times from Australia’s ports to Asian markets. Australia is the world’s second largest exporter of cotton earning valuable foreign currency. Unlike perishable horticultural crops, cotton is primarily an exported commodity and increased production easily absorbed by the massive world market.

Cotton growers are uniquely positioned to prove the viability of a Bradfield Scheme, as Australian irrigated cotton growers utilize the latest CSIRO agronomic research and development to produce the world highest yields per hectare, have a mature trading market, and efficient production due to massive industrial scale.

The elements of the proposed Bradfield Scheme from Northern Queensland to the Murray-Darling Basin are as follows (elevations also indicated):

  • Blue dots – major Bradfield components
  • Red dots – new irrigation areas
  • Light blue lines – approximate routes of gravity-fed aqueducts
  • Orange line – pumped section

The main water sources are flood flows stored at Hells Gate Dam on the Burdekin River, with potential for more supply from further north on the Herbert and Tully Rivers.

The new irrigation area in the Charters Towers area (red dot) is supplied with water from the aqueduct (light blue line).

Water is stored on the Great Dividing Range low point at 300m at Lake Galilee.

From Lake Galilee water is transported by aqueduct to a new irrigation area in the Mitchell Downs in the vicinity of Muttaburra and Aramac. A second aqueduct transports water to storage at Blackall at elevation 250m.

From Blackall water can be pumped over the Great Dividing Range (using solar power) at elevation 320m and conveyed via gravitational aqueduct to Charleville at 300m and St George at 240m. Now in the Murray-Darling Catchment, the water could be used for environmental purposes and sold on to irrigators.

A second gravitational aqueduct could convey water through the Bulloo River catchment to the cotton production areas around Bourke at 110m.

Hat tip to Jason for the proposed route to Bourke and St George.

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Categories: Book Bradfield Scheme


What are the economics? Constriction cost per ML storage. Cost per ML provided. Cost of construction. Breakdown by stage. Potential revenues by crops and water efficiency

Categories: Book