The approval of the massive Adani (Carmichael Coal) Mine has been delayed by ongoing concerns with the groundwater plan. What if the mine did not have to use groundwater at all, but drew water from massive storages created nearby at Lake Buchanan and Lake Galilee? The unused salt lakes perched on the Great Dividing Range could be filled with flood water from an aqueduct to Hells Gate Dam on the headwaters of the Burdekin River.
Low-cost gravitational flow is viable, as it is downhill from all the way from the headwaters of the Burdekin, providing Hells Gate Dam is built to a sufficient height.
Not only Adani, but 5 mines have been approved for the Galilee Coal Basin (see image). Are they going to run into the same water sourcing problems too? A Galilee pipeline should be constructed to pipe water east from the two storages and so mitigate the environmental impact of these mines on ground and surface waters.
The mines in the Bowen Basin draw water from the Burdekin Falls Dam via a pipeline – why not build the same river saving infrastructure for the Galilee Basin?
In addition, the storages could also be used for town water supply and irrigation of the fertile Mitchell Grass Downs to the west of the Great Dividing Range. Use a renewable supply of flood waters and leave the limited groundwater source alone.
Renewable hydropower generation is also possible at and between Lake Buchanan and Lake Galilee, as well as locations along the aqueduct route. The power generated could be sold to the mines, generating carbon-free revenue.
The Morrison government will try to lure skilled migrants away from the nation’s choked cities with a new visa requiring them to spend at least three years in regional Australia as a condition of seeking permanent residency.
Under proposed changes, backpackers will now be able to stay with agricultural employers beyond six months and will be able to triple the length of their stay if they do extra agricultural work. This is a move which is aimed at rural Australia and farmers specifically.
The Bradfield Scheme would dramatically boost agricultural production in rural Australia up to $50 billion per annum.
Creating a network of dams and pipelines in outback Australia would help reverse the population drift to the major coastal cities. Towns would develop to service new agricultural activities. Transport and tourism would follow, with the necessary transport infrastructure being developed. This would encourage greater travel through, and more settlement in, the great Australian outback.
The One Nation ‘hybrid’ Bradfield Scheme is a Clayton’s Bradfield Scheme – the Bradfield Scheme you are having when you are not having a Bradfield Scheme.
One Nation committed in January 2017 to a ‘hybrid’ Bradfield Scheme approach to water security to drought-proof the State and made a number of public statements and a members bill mentioning Bradfield. A Bradfield Scheme must, by definition surely, include the transfer of water from coastal rivers across the Great Dividing Range in order to benefit inland areas. It may optionally include transporting water to the Murray-Darling Basin. But the building of a scheme to transfer of water inland or to the MDB is not mentioned in the list of projects on the PHON water policy webpage.
One Nation will:
1. Support the Commonwealth in building additional capacity on the Burdekin catchment through raising the Burdekin Falls Dam supporting Townsville and the Galilee and Bowen Basins mining operations and Lower Burdekin irrigation.
2. Support the selection of storage options in the Fitzroy catchment.
3. Urgently examine the opportunities for dam level raising in the south-east.
4. Cost the Nathan Dam and pipelines project for water security for mining, power, urban and agriculture users in the Surat Coal Basin and Dawson-Callide region.
A scheme generating the agricultural revenue of the Murray-Darling Basin, the renewable power of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, flood water control to save the Reef, and mitigation of flood damage to environmental, personal and public assets is highly desirable. Due to situational and environmental constraints, water conveyance may be the most practical way for Queensland to increase land under irrigation profitably. A gravitational Bradfield Scheme is the inevitable outcome of a development process that puts the priority on reduction of carbon emissions, conservation of the environment, and sustainable development.
This was my first go at finding a viable gravity-only route from a coastal river to the inland catchments. Gravity-feed is so important for keeping the cost of the water down. In this case, it flows into the Cooper Creek in the Galilee Basin that feeds into Lake Eyre from the Burdekin River at Hell’s Gate. This route goes via Lake Bradfield, currently a salt lake, which could serve as a temporary storage (about 14,000GL) and feed east to Adani Mine or other parts of the Bowen Basin, south to Lake Galilee and west to Muttaburra.
Soon I will get an actual route from Leon. I used http://plotaroute.com to develop a kml file of the route line, opened the kml file in Google Earth Pro (free) and captured the video with Fraps (Pro).
Note that Leon’s design is an integrated pipeline and levy. The levy would pick up fairly substantial flows along the way from the Cape River and the Campaspe River as well before it goes around the Thalanga Mine or Campaspe to head north up to the Basalt River. It gets a bit rough from there to Hell’s Gates and would need careful route planning, but even if it stops short at the Basalt River, Leon estimates it could catch and deliver maybe 2,000 – 3,000 GL or so per year to Aramac & Adani within 12 months. It then can later be connected to Hell’s Gate and deliver an extra 8,000 GL or so, then with the Herbert and Tully rivers add in another 3,000 GL or so.
The agricultural production alone from the irrigation of 2,000 km2 of land around Aramac and Muttaburra could be about $2 billion in produce per year. This plan has the benefits of lower cost (~$8 billion), and staged implementation without requiring the building of Hell’s Gate Dam.