Cross-border water pipeline idea angers NSW

13th April 2007The Federal Government has been warned it will have a fight on its hands over any proposal to pump water from northern NSW rivers to Queensland’s drought stricken south-east.

Federal Water Resources Minister Malcolm Turnbull is releasing a report in Brisbane which concludes a cross-border pipeline would be a cost-effective option to easing the region’s water woes.

The report, prepared by the Snowy Mountains Energy Corporation for the National Water Commission, will outline five options for transporting water across the border.

Four of the options include damming NSW’s Clarence river and piping it to the Logan River in Queensland.

The fifth option involves damming the Tweed River to pump water to the Nerang River.

The report comes only days after tough new level five water restrictions were introduced in south-east Queensland.

However, Clarence Valley Mayor, Ian Tiley, says any plan to dam the Clarence River will be destructive.

He says local residents will fight to protect the waterway.

“If there’s one issue that unites the vast majority of the Clarence people, it’s the mighty Clarence River,” he said.

“And the council, and I believe the vast majority of people in this valley, are totally opposed to (the plan).”

NSW Nationals MP for Clarence, Steve Cansdell, says Mr Turnbull would have a fight on his hands if the Clarence proposal goes any further.

“Malcolm Turnbull should get in a kayak and go up the Clarence … and just have a look and see the pristine nature of this and the delicate nature of our water system,” he said.

“I thought Malcolm Turnbull was a lot smarter than that. We should be looking at 21st century technology.”

However, Queensland Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney says any option which will prevent the south-east corner from running out of water should be considered on its merits.

“The Beattie Labor government should have been considering options like the northern river proposal years ago, when this water crisis first reared its head,” he said.

“The northern river proposal is talking about piping water over a much shorter distance than the Traveston proposal, so it is likely to be much more cost effective.”

The Queensland government’s proposed Traveston Crossing Dam, near Gympie, north of Brisbane, will cost $1.7 billion and the first stage of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

Mr Seeney said the government was also spending millions of dollars considering piping water from north Queensland – a proposal known as the Bradfield scheme – but had not been willing to look at sourcing water from its own doorstep in northern NSW.

“We need to start taking a regional approach towards water, not just a local one,” he said.

SOURCE: AAP and FarmOnline