Having my two cents worth

Giving an opinion on world events and news…

Monthly Archives: January 2011

Further information on the proposed Traveston dam controversy

Why did Brisbane have the worst floods since 1974? The building of the Wivenhoe dam was meant to stop those floods from ever happening again… yet it happened again.

Three years ago, the former Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie claimed that with climate change the soaking rains would never happen again, and therefore Queensland needed to find ways of supplying water. Amongst the ideas given was that people should get used to using recycled water (yuk!!).  Peter Beattie also argued in favour of building the Traveston dam, even though the National Party, and the locals in the Mary Valley were against it. The attitude of the locals was insufficient but let’s look at the history of this controversial project.

I found some useful comments on one of Andrew Bolt’s blogs where the subject was raised. Andrew drew on the opinions of the disgraced Tim Flannery, who had made many of the predictions that Beattie believed. You can read the blog post here:

I found some really good information in the comments, written by Dave Ross, Rose and brc ( I hope they do not mind that I am using their comments.

Dave Ross replied to yobbo of Brisbane
Wed 13 Oct 10 (11:09am)

Yobbo OB,
The State Labor government is building the Wyaralong dam as we speak.
The Traveston Crossing Dam was effectively stopped by the Qld. State Coordinator General who finally under intense government pressure, approved the dam but under stringent conditions that virtually made it impossible to build.
The ALP Feds involvement under the EPBC act was inevitable and an easy decision for them.
Not widely known is that the Traveston Crossing Dam site was previously investigated and rejected in 1977 and 1994 by the National and ALP State governments respectively, on economic, engineering, social and environmental grounds.
In 2005 the technical advisory panel to the Water Resource Plan for the Mary Basin reported to the Beattie government that any project involving a dam on the Mary would be subject to scrutiny by the Feds under the EPBC act and would certainly be rejected.
Beattie ignored this advice and declared game on for the TCD in 2006. The scientists have been proven correct.
The EPBC act was introduced under the conservative Howard government in 1999 and had the approval of all political parties, thus in democratic terms, the majority of Australian citizens.
Beattie cost us a fortune by pursuing the TCD nonsense for pure political gain.
He wanted to announce something big before the early 2006 election he wasn’t going to have and at the same time drive a wedge between the Liberal and National parties who were close to merging as the LNP.
The Libs being notionally pro dam and the Nats anti.
That didn’t work and the grandiose Labor dam plan failed us all dismally.

Rose replied to yobbo of Brisbane
Wed 13 Oct 10 (11:26am)

Peter Garrett also checked out the dam on economic grounds. The Centre for International Economics, Canberra, found that the Bligh Govt could not show that Traveston Dam was the best option to meet SEQld`s water needs. Peter Garrett posted this report online after Bligh complained of his decision.

brc replied to yobbo of Brisbane
Wed 13 Oct 10 (11:34am)

The Traveston crossing dam was another white-elephant in the making.  It would have destroyed a lot of productive farmland, and the scientific studies done were not even completed when work started.  The average depth was going to be a few metres, and evaporation was going to be a real issue.  As it was, it devastated a community. It would have cost a few billion and produced expensive water.  There are plenty of other workable and useful sites a lot closer to Brisbane than Traveston crossing.  That’s why it was a bad idea and why it was rightfully killed.  It’s a pity Garrett had to be the one that did it.

The main reason Traveston Crossing was chosen was it was the closest location Beattie could find that was never going to vote for him anyway.

Dave Ross replied to yobbo of Brisbane
Wed 13 Oct 10 (04:13pm)

brc,
Certainly the view that there were only a few National party voters in the area so there would be no political fallout was aired at a caucus meeting and of course there hasn’t been a state Labor member here for over 50 years.
However Pumpkin Pete made quite a large political misjudgement and the ALP has lost every neighbouring seat in the area starting with Noosa.
The ALP member at the time, Cate Molloy lost her endorsement for the seat after voting with the coalition against the dam proposal.
Many people in the seat of Gympie have relatives on the Sunshine Coast and the Wide Bay area.
Blood is thicker than water it seems.
Many members of Kevin Rudd’s mother’s family also live here including his Uncle Kevin who he was named after.

I must admit that I had not heard of the Wyaralong dam, so I gather that this dam is a substitute for the Traveston dam, and obviously it is being built in a better location. What these people are pointing out is that Peter Beattie was being cynical in his choice of location for the needed dam. On top of that, the dam was just completed in time to be filled up from the rains.   It would seem that this time around Peter Garrett made the right choice, not based upon the endangered species in the river, but for economic grounds. 

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Brisbane floods–could this flood have been mitigated?

There are genuine questions to be asked about why the Wivenhoe Dam failed to protect Brisbane from its worst flood since 1974.  The history here is that the Wivenhoe Dam was built in response to the 1974 flood and it was supposed to protect Brisbane from this kind of disastrous flood. What went wrong?

Andrew Bolt has been asking some serious questions about why the operators of the Wivenhoe Dam failed to release larger amounts of water in the days preceding the heavy rains that led to the floods.  The issue raised by Bolt is that the Wivenhoe Dam at the time of the deluge was too full,  that it was in fact at about 160% capacity prior to the rains, and that the dam was filling up fast to the point where the flood gates would have opened automatically.

Bolt takes up the case presented by senior engineer Michael O’Brien who claims that the Brisbane flood was avoidable. The issue seems to centre around the fact that the SEQ water failed to release sufficient water from the dam in the week prior to the heavy rains, leading to the release of 645,00 mega litres on the morning of the Brisbane flood. This release was due to the rather alarming increase in the dam storage levels to about 190% capacity.

You can read the whole thing here.

Like Andrew Bolt I am not familiar with the information that has been provided. On the other hand, I have experienced a flood that was due to the opening of the Warragamba Dam’s floodgates. The effect of that action was quite significant, leading to serious flooding in the Richmond-Windsor district.  There is some similarity in circumstances because the flood was preceded by a week of heavy rain and then came the rising of the rivers which cut off the townships of Richmond and Windsor. In the case of Brisbane, as pointed out by Germaine Greer, the Wivenhoe had been as low as 10% capacity at one point, meaning that the SEQ operators of the dam might have been reluctant to release greater quantities of water.

At least Anna Bligh has ordered a Royal Commission into the floods, and hopefully the Royal Commission will examine all of the data that will explain why the Brisbane floods happened in the first place.

This is a different issue from the floods in Ipswich, Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley.  The wall of water that came beating down on the residents of that region was also probably avoidable. 

 

 

Germaine Greer adds her two cents worth–Pt. 5 of a series

This is the second time that I have agreed with the gist of comments from Germaine Greer. This woman gets it!!  The first time that I agreed with Greer was about the causes of the devastating bush fires in Australia two years ago. In that instance Greer took the Greenies and the Globull warmists to task over their attempts to claim that the most devastating fire in Marysville and other areas in Victoria was due to Globull warming. On that occasion Greer made observations that I had also learned in the classroom.

This time Greer is refuting the attempts by Globull warmists to claim that the floods in Queensland have something to do with climate change (it does not).

Here is a part of what Greer had to say in her column:

 

What’s going on in Australia is rain… The ground is swollen with months of it. The new downpours have nowhere to go but sideways, across the vast floodplains of this ancient continent. We all learned the poem at school, about how ours is “a sunburnt country . . . of droughts and flooding rains"… And yet we still don’t get it. After 10 years of drought, we are having the inevitable flooding rains. The pattern is repeated regularly and yet Australians are still taken by surprise.

The meteorologists will tell you that the current deluge is a product of La Niña. At fairly regular intervals, atmospheric pressure on the western side of the Pacific falls; the trade winds blow from the cooler east side towards the trough, pushing warm surface water westwards towards the bordering land masses. As the water-laden air is driven over the land it cools and drops its load. In June last year the bureau of meteorology issued a warning that La Niña was about “to dump buckets” on Australia. In 1989-90 La Niña brought flooding to New South Wales and Victoria, in 1998 to New South Wales and Queensland… In Brisbane the benchmark was the flood of 1974; most Queenslanders are unaware that the worst flood in Brisbane’s history happened in 1893. Six months ago the meteorologists thought it was worthwhile to warn people to “get ready for a wet, late winter and a soaked spring and summer”. So what did the people do? Nothing. They said, “She’ll be right, mate”. She wasn’t.

It takes La Niña to bring rain to the inland, in such quantities that it can hardly be managed. Manage it Australians must. The Wivenhoe Dam on the Brisbane river was built to protect the city of Brisbane from another flood like the one of 1974. For years it has been at 10% of capacity [er, that’s a gross exaggeration, actually, but, yet, it was alarmingly low for a while], so when it filled this year nobody wanted to let any of the precious water out. It eventually became clear that the dam had filled to 190% of its capacity, and the authorities realised with sinking hearts not only that the floodgates would have to be opened [even wider, actually], but that the opening would coincide with a king tide in Moreton Bay. The question nobody [pardon?] has been heard to ask is whether or not the level of water in the dam should have been reduced gradually, beginning weeks ago…

 

Hat tip: Andrew Bolt

 

The poem that Greer mentions is “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar. We all had to learn that poem by rote. We had to recite it perfectly when we were in school. Here is the full poem:

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

I have changed the colour of the relevant stanzas of the poem because Dorothea Mackellar in her poem has encapsulated the truth about the Australian landscape. The droughts and the floods are a normal part of this country. This is why Governor Lachlan Macquarie designated the five Macquarie towns for settlements. He picked areas on high ground so that people would not be impacted by those floods.

Yet Australians today seem to not understand the very nature of the Australian weather patterns. This is yet another reason why these rains seem to have caught many people unawares. They should have been prepared, but they believed the big lie about Globull warming, and they believed the lie that the days of soaking rain were finished. They failed to understand the nature of La Nina.

The coming of La Nina–pt4. of a series

La Nina is a periodic interaction between the Pacific Ocean and the Earth’s atmosphere, and the annual monsoonal low pressure trough which brings wet weather to the region. La Nina has not only affected Queensland and New South Wales, but it has left a trail of destruction elsewhere: Brazil (more than 270 have died in floods and mudslides) Sri Lanka (32 dead and 900,000 homeless), the Philippines (40 dead and 1.3 million displaced in flooding) Southern Thailand (2 dead and 3000 displaced in flooding), Europe (severe flooding in Koblenz, Cologne and Condron) Northeast  USA where blizzards have shutdown airports and Europe mid-December where there was also airport chaos due to heavy snowfalls. In Queensland, the death toll from the December and January floods stands at more than 40, with several people still missing.

The Meteorologists knew that La Nina was on the way as early as April 2010 when she showed off her trademark heavy rains and strong southeast trade winds from April through to the end of 2010. When El Nina arrives the Australian drought is broken.

One of the reasons for the devastating floods this year has been the arrival of La Nina, bringing with her an unusually high amount of rainfall. The higher levels of rainfall from September onwards has meant that the dams in Queensland had reached full capacity, and that the rivers had begun to swell with the flow of water. In the long term this is good for the Murray-Darling basin which had been suffering through the drought caused by El Nino.

The last time that there was a devastating flood was in 1974 when massive flooding in Brisbane killed 14 and 6,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, which was also due to La Nina. Prior to that, in the 1950s the Hunter Valley (Maitland) floods created an inland sea with 25 people being killed. That flood was the subject of a movie called Newsfront.

As a result of the arrival of La Nina there has been an increase in wet and humid conditions. This has led to increased rains in Victoria, as well as other parts of NSW that are not normally affected by La Nina. In late November, early December the rains in NSW and Victoria caused massive flooding. The towns affected included Mudgee, Wagga and Queanbeyan, as well as parts of Victoria. At the present time there are floods in Echuca and Horsham. If we get further heavy rainfalls here in the ACT I would expect that Queanbeyan could face flooding for a second time. The Molonglo river is still very high, and on top of that the lakes around Canberra are at full capacity. The Cotter dam is also at full capacity.

Even though the coming of La Nina explains to some extent the reason why the floods have been so devastating it is not the full story. There are other reasons for the devastating consequences around Ipswich, Toowoomba and Brisbane. It has to be remembered that in a tropical region such as Queensland, that there is only two seasons – wet and dry. The dry normally begins around May-June and lasts until about September when the humidity begins to ramp up again. It is quite normal for flooding in some areas of Queensland during the wet season. It is usually when El Nino is in effect that there is a drop in the normal rains during the wet season, which in turn affects the river systems.

I think that a part of the reason that people were caught off guard and were not ready for the effects of La Nina is that they had believed the big lie of Globull warming. In other words they believed that there would be less, not more, rain and as a result they had begun to do things that had consequences when the big rains came.  Yes, La Nina has her influence, but the mistakes that were made by those in authority have also played a big part in why Brisbane was devastatingly flooded and so many people have lost their lives. 

The Macquarie Towns–Pt. 3 of a series

When I was first married I lived in the Richmond-Windsor district of NSW. These two towns were a part of the 5 towns designated by Governor Macquarie because they were on high ground. A summary of the life of Governor Lachlan Macquarie can be found here.

The Governor, his wife and a few others set about doing a survey along what is now known as the Hawkesbury River, which is a part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system. Macquarie designated Richmond, Windsor, Castlereagh, Pitt Town and Wilberforce for the purpose of settlements because they were on high ground and people would be safe from floods.

Now fast forward to the late 1900s where the NSW government began to release new land for sale in those same districts. The problem is that this land was in the flood plains, and was not a part of the designated area. When I lived in the area, I lived in Cox Street, at the top end near the railway line. The parallel street is George Street. The newly released land is at the other end of George Street. In the 1978 floods that land was under water.

I see this as a potential for a real disaster in the future. The Warragamba Dam which releases water that feeds into the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system, has not been at full capacity for a very long time. This is because a lot of the rainfall was not over the catchment area, yet we had flash floods in Sydney, and in some parts of the Castle Hill district we even had tornados from time to time. However, last year, in 2010, NSW had heavy rains, and this means that the Warragamba Dam is closer to full capacity.

If, as predicted, there is more rain in NSW and if that rain causes the Warragamba Dam to reach full capacity to the point where the flood gates are opened and the spill is released, then there is in my mind no doubt that there will be a big flood once again in the Richmond-Windsor district, and with a lot of new housing estates being flooded. This is because these housing estates have been built on the flood plains. The surveyors, and those responsible for town planning have ignored the possibility of floods in the area.

Whilst I cannot prove my statements, that there will be a big flood in that region, this brings me to looking at the situation of Queensland, where Brisbane has seen flooding at the same level as that of 1974, which was also quite devastating. Some of the issues that I have raised here about the designation of the Macquarie Towns also apply to regions in Queensland where the town planners have ignored the floods of the past, and in my view they have become sloppy because they believed the big Globull Warming lie.

 

Richmond-Windsor District flood March 1978–(pt. 2 of a series)

I grew up in Melbourne, and not once during my growing years did I ever encounter the devastation of a flood. This is despite the fact that Victoria had her share of floods during that same period. Places such as Echuca, Horsham and Shepparton were known to be flood prone. Even in my family tree, there is the death of a boy aged about 14 that was probably a drowning due to floods in Horsham (I need to verify that point).

However, things changed when I married and relocated to the Richmond-Windsor district. First of all, in 1977, when I was living in a unit in Richmond, there was a minor flood. This happened when I was away visiting my in-laws who were living at Port Macquarie at the time. Our top floor unit was flooded due to the debris on the roof. However, it was the following year that I ended up in the middle of a flood.

It was in March 1978 that we had a week of non-stop rains. I had a newborn son (my oldest) and we had arranged that he would be baptized at the Easter Vigil at our local church, St. Matthews, Windsor. Since my husband was in the RAAF at the time, we were expecting our relatives to arrive from both Melbourne and Newcastle in time for the Baptism. What happened though, is that the region became flooded because of the heavy rains.

My memory of the whole thing has faded over time, but I do remember that there had been several deaths. Two of those deaths were a couple whose vehicle had been washed away in Toongabbie. The one that I remember most, though, was in Windsor, where a teenage boy was electrocuted when his boat touched overhead electricity wires as he was attempting to rescue people. This accident happened somewhere near a tavern known as the Jolly Green Frog which is located close to McGrath’s Hill.

This flood occurred because Warragamba dam had been full to capacity due to the rains that NSW had that year. As a result of the heavy rain the flood gates were opened and there was a spill that flowed into the Hawkesbury River. The twin towns of Richmond-Windsor are located on the Hawkesbury River.  There are several other river tributaries including the Colo River. Windsor gets cut off at one end (heading towards Colo) and South Windsor also gets cut off. Richmond was also cut off from North Richmond (the other end of the town heading towards the Blue Mountains).  South Windsor has flood plains, and even though we were on high ground we were surrounded by flood waters. There were houses at the other end of Cox Street that were flooded. Behind our street there was a golf course, and it was flooded. At our end, of Cox Street the railway line had been cut off because of the flood waters. We were cut off from Blacktown, yet we could get to Penrith via one road that had not been cut off.

During this period my husband’s squadron at the RAAF base Richmond, had been detailed to help evacuate people from their flooded houses. They worked to help these people, yet those rescued were not exactly grateful for the help that they received.

What did I learn from being almost cut off because of the floods? I learned about the wisdom of Governor Macquarie who had designated what are known as the five Macquarie Towns.  What I learned is that the NSW government had released land in an area that was a known flood plain, and that the house that had been built on the flood plain were the ones affected. For the rest of us, we were safe from the effects of the floods. This is because our homes had been built according to the plan set out by Governor Macquarie.  In other words, in 1978 some of the devastation from that particular flood in the Richmond-Windsor district was avoidable.

What was seared in my memory, however, is that the flood was in part caused by the opening of the floodgates at Warragamba dam. In other words if the dam is too full when there is heavy rain then the floods themselves are inevitable.

The floods in Queensland prove that Globull Warmists talk rubbish pt. 1

Here in Australia we have several climate zones – in the north, which includes Queensland we have the tropical zone, in the middle of Australia such as in Sydney we have the temperate zone, and in Victoria and Tasmania for example we have a colder zone.   What is important about these zones is the fact that in the tropical zone, there are wet and dry seasons, rather than summer, autumn, winter and spring. 

Australia has just undergone yet another period of drought, but thanks to the rains that we have had since winter 2010 the drought has been broken. This is due to the El Nina effect which has hit Australia. It is nothing new, and it is a part of the normal weather cycle.

The Globull Warmists, or Watermelons love to peddle their scenarios about climate change, and now we have further proof that these Watermelons are nothing but scam artists. For example, Senator Bob Brown the leader of the Watermelon Party aka the Green Party, is attempting to lay blame for the devastating floods on the Queensland miners. The problem with that theory is that it is way off the mark.

The last time there were devastating floods in Brisbane was in 1974. As a result of these floods the Wivenhoe Dam was built. The building of this dam was supposed to mitigate the effects of a severe flood, but it did not – why? I will cover that in a later article.

The Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, has announced that there will be a Royal Commission into the devastating floods. This is good news, because there is a real need to examine how the devastation happened.

I have some of my own theories about why this year has been so bad. My theories are based upon what I believe to be a lack of real judgment in decision-making, including the failure of the SEQ water authority to release water from Wivenhoe Dam in a timely fashion. Since the flooding was so vast, there are many stories and articles that need to be followed up.

In the meantime, here is a video that shows the ferocity of the floods:

check out the ferocity of the flow of water as cars are left swirling in the water.

Guess who might be considering profiling at airports despite cries from the usual suspects.

Here is yet another informative article in Der Spiegel regarding airport security. This one is quite surprising, yet it shows that at least some Germans do get it: that lining up innocent people, making them remove shoes for no good reason, and to place their laptops in a separate container is nothing more than a waste of time which clogs up the security checks as people head towards their flights.

Der Spiegel writes:

German airports are considering assigning passengers to risk categories based on their age and ethnicity, and checking them accordingly, under a proposal by the designated head of the country’s airports federation. Critics say the move would foment racism, breach anti-discrimination laws and fail to boost security.

The article goes on to state that the system under consideration is profiling as implemented by the Israelis. It also points out the Britain looks like adopting the same procedure….. interesting… did you hear that Janet and TSA?  Looks like you are out of step with the rest of the world.

Here is the money quote from Blume as to why he is considering this move:

"Every new incident leads to further checks and security measures. This creates a security spiral in terms of new technical equipment which at some point will reach its technical and operational limits."

Do people really think that there will be another shoe bomber? Will a Catholic, or a Lutheran, or a Presbyterian decide to use a bit of PETN in his or her shoes in order to cause an explosion? Personally, I would expect such behaviour from an Anarchist, but I would not expect a Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Sikh, or a Jew to be involved in a plot to blow up an aircraft.

Being realistic, the threats have come from one source, but different countries. Even when they talk of British nationals, or French and German nationals, one has to look a bit deeper to see that these are naturalized citizens who have migrated from countries that are dominated by the religion of Peas.

How many men and women who like to knit, crochet, tat or do embroidery, are likely to use their knitting needles, embroidery or wool needles, embroidery scissors, or crochet hooks, or heaven forbid a tatting shuttle for such nefarious purposes as the hijack of an aircraft. If such a crime ever eventuates then I will eat my words, but until then, I think that those restrictions are not necessary.

The German proposal is that the passengers be profiled according to their background and their travel habits. The intending passengers will be directed down three security entrances. Obviously, some passengers will end up being checked more thoroughly, and I would expect that any naturalized German with the obvious profile would be checked more thoroughly. Most will be innocent of any wrong-doing but if there are any with suspicious contacts then yes, they should get the full treatment. In that way those members of the religion of Peas who are not involved in Jihad activity will be free to travel without suspicion being cast upon them, and the rest of the travellers will not have to put up with the inconvenience of unnecessary and reactive measures.