February 14th, 2013 at 08:19am
Simon Benson from The Daily Telegraph got his hands on a draft policy discussion paper from the Coalition, and wrote about it in today’s Daily Telegraph. The plan is for more dams, especially up north, for nation building and risk mitigation.
At first glance, I’m very impressed. Using all of the water which falls in the tropics has been something I have supported for many years. I have generally suggested pumping water down south, but I suppose it makes sense to dam the rivers in the north and use some of that water up there and send some of the water south (where more dams can help with distribution).
UP to 100 dams could be built across the country to prevent floods, fuel power stations and irrigate a food boom to feed 120 million people across the Asia Pacific region, under plans being considered by Opposition leader Tony Abbott.
In the second high-level policy leak in a week, The Daily Telegraph has obtained a copy of the Coalition’s draft policy discussion paper for water management of Australia.
Included in the list of dam projects, which the Coalition will consider, is a $500 million plan to raise Warragamba Dam in Sydney, and new dams for NSW in the Hunter Valley, Central Highlands and along the Lachlan River.
The last major new dam built in NSW was Splitrock – in northern NSW in 1987.
The majority of the dams would be in northern Australia, where they would be used to irrigate arid zones for agriculture and more than double Australia’s food production.
Claiming the environmental lobby had been to blame for the lack of new water infrastructure, the report from the Coalition’s water taskforce endorses a major dam-building program to “help feed 120 million people and beyond over the coming decades”.
One of the projects involves transporting water from the Kimberley region, 1500km to Perth, using canals, pipelines and ocean super tankers or large synthetic bags towed behind tug boats.
This is what I call a useful nation building project. Unlike the Rudd/Gillard government’s overpriced school halls, lethal pink batts, or out-of-date-by-the-time-it’s-built National Broadband Network, this plan has tangible long-term benefits for both the growth of the nation, and the reduction of risk from natural disasters.
It has been my belief for a very long time that the interior sections of the country can be reclaimed and used for agriculture and domestic inhabitation if water can be pumped in to those areas. I also believe that having water in those areas will increase the evaporation and precipitation cycle in those areas. I believe that some of the desert areas can be turned in to useful land…not all, but a decent chunk.
We can increase our productivity, increase our ability to export food, and minimise the downtime and expense caused by floods through this type of plan. The $30 billion price tag would be well and truly offset, and probably completely paid for, by the long-term economic advantages. When governments talk about nation building, this is the type of forward-thinking project that should be talking about.
I applaud the Federal Coalition for considering this type of visionary plan.