Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Traveston Dam Desalination Water Report kept Secret by Austrailian Officials

Dam opponents claim the government has inadvertantly admitted that desalination would offer a cheaper, quicker and more reliable solution to south-east Queensland’s water woes.

And they believe it is likely that a half a million dollar report prepared by professional services giant Gutteridge, Haskins and Davey has been kept under wraps because it supports their argument.

That has been the pattern:

Australian fishermen fear the impact of the Traveston dam on the regional fishery - Environmental Impact Statement is not complete

Australia - Differing versions of Traveston Dam EIS meant to confuse the public - MP highlights Traveston dam EIS discrepancies

Another Australian environmental impact statement rendered meaningless by 5 week comment period

Australian dam proponents try an end run around environmental impact statement

The government has confirmed that $512,000 was paid to GHD for “investigation of desalination options for South East Queensland’’ in 2005-06 but said the advice was not provided in a single report and therefore could not be released.

On Sunday, acting premier Paul Lucas announced that $125 million would be spent on preliminary works to build two mobile desalination plants if the drought worsens.

Mr Lucas acknowledged that new water sources may be needed years before the Traveston dam can top up supplies.

“By starting work straight away, up to an extra 144 megalitres a day in contingency supplies can be added to the region by the end of next year,’’ he said.

Mr Lucas said the government would assess water security at the end of the wet season to determine if the mobile plants were necessary.

“The cost of those temporary plants – if they proceed – is around $550 million and they would be ready in late 2009,’’ he said. “The options we’ve chosen to pursue further are the most effective in terms of cost and likelihood of success.’’

The opposition’s spokesperson for infrastructure, Fiona Simpson, said Mr Lucas’s statements had exposed the $1.7 billion Traveston dam as a cruel hoax and highlighted the government’s “bizarre’’ attitude to water infrastructure.

“It is clear these mobile plants can be built sooner and for less than the cost of the dam without all the harrowing consequences,” Miss Simpson said.

“We believe that a permanent desalination plant is a better option still because it would have less environmental impact, but whatever way you look at it, the dam is an incredibly dumb idea.”

Mr Lucas denied that desalination would offer a more cost-effective solution to the water solution and challenged Miss Simpson to state where she would build a plant north of Brisbane.

Kevin Ingersole, from the Save the Mary River group, said Mr Lucas’s announcement proved that the government knew desalination could do the job.

Here is the full article.

This type of thing is fairly common:

Barrick Gold Corporation conveniently left out mention of the glaciers its Pascau Lama mine would destroy: "The first environmental impact study Barrick Gold submitted to the Chilean authorities - after the bilateral treaty was adopted - neglected to mention the glaciers. It was the farmers of Huasco Valley who warned CONAMA. "
Pascua Lama Gold Mine, a Threat to Sustainability