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The Forum > General Discussion > Pumping water inland expensive

Pumping water inland expensive

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Why can't the Top End pipe some of its abundant water south to assist drought-stricken states?

Every political cycle, a cavalcade of federal and state politicians dust off their Akubras, RMs and plaid shirts and head north, ready to pledge the nation's drought-ravaged farmers everything but actual rain.

The possibility of piping the water resources of northern Australia to quench thousands of thirsty southern agricultural paddocks has been floated by a litany of leaders keen to make use of the annual downpours of the tropical wet season.

But how plausible is the idea of pumping water from the Northern Territory down south to ease the dry soils of pastoral properties in Queensland, NSW and Western Australia? Or is it just a pipe dream?

According to scientists, water experts, and those who have been involved with some of the Top End's biggest-ever water infrastructure projects, the idea could work in theory.

But no government would ever have the cash surplus needed to fund it, with experts warning any such a plan would cost billions and billions even trillions of taxpayer dollars.

And besides, is the notion that the NT has an endless supply of rainwater just a myth, anyway?

Project would sink billions

Although nearly 2 metres of rain falls each year in Darwin, the city does not have the infrastructure in place to capture enough of it and pump it out, Power and Water Corporation's Jethro Laidlaw said.

"We would need massive dams," he said.

"We already have Darwin River Dam, but we sort of need all of that for Darwin.

Despite the walls of water hitting Top End soil each year, "it's incredibly expensive to pump it to southern parts of Australia", CSIRO research scientist Andrew Ash said.

"Just the energy requirements on an operational scale means that it's very expensive, let alone the capital costs of building channels or pipelines to southern Australia."

** The rest of the article is at the link, interesting read. **

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-18/why-cant-top-end-pipe-water-south-assist-drought-stricken-states/10615440
Posted by Philip S, Friday, 21 December 2018 12:42:08 AM
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Our debt is now over half a trillion dollars. The political class, with their vote buying from people who just want free stuff, has put the mockers on big projects. Then there is the stifling grip of the Greens that has put a stop to dam building. Our only hope now is to reduce our population to fit in with our diminishing wealth, fear of using our natural resources, and lack of infrastructure. Despite what our beaming PM says, Australia is in big trouble.
Posted by ttbn, Friday, 21 December 2018 8:06:45 AM
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Who needs pumps ? Ever heard of gravity feed ? Dig channels where the ground is too high & let the water find its way. Water can do that without some insipid academic's interference.
Besides, where is the land higher west of & than the great Dividing Range ?
Posted by individual, Friday, 21 December 2018 8:54:03 AM
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All we need to do is live within our means; something that we have forgotten how to do since the Leftist trashing of our society and values began in the sixties.
Posted by ttbn, Friday, 21 December 2018 9:30:40 AM
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We have been here done that, but yes why not
And costs? what about the benefits
The Snowy River scheme kicked off massive growth and this can too
If we are brave we can build a Nuclear power station to, at first just power the water transfer and that will bring further decentralization
Worth supporting
Posted by Belly, Friday, 21 December 2018 10:43:05 AM
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The nearly completed Murray to Broken Hill pipeline is 270k, cost $500 million and will deliver just 37 megalitres a day. That may be enough for a small town (18,000) and its mines, but would not go far in terms of irrigation. And it needs three pumping stations.

I'll leave readers to extrapolate that to pipelines of 2-3000 km, carrying enough water south from the tropics to drought proof grazing and irrigation over hundreds of square kilometres. Where would the water be delivered? Into the headwaters of the Darling? Then a large percentage of the expensive piped water would just evaporate. A reticulated water system through western Queensland and western NSW? Add many more 1000s of kilometres of pipes, or lose much more in open channels.

Keep in mind that Australia is not dead flat, there are lots of ups and downs. Just because Darwin is north doesn't mean it's downhill all the way south! Think one pumping station per 100+ km. Also, the monsoon is only a short period of the year. Consider just how many dams would be needed to store water for delivery through the dry.

If we really had the money that would be needed, it's likely we could use it much more productively in other ways. Agriculturely, it might be cheaper to demolish all the suburbs round Sydney and Melbourne and return that well-watered land to farming.
Posted by Cossomby, Friday, 21 December 2018 10:58:40 AM
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