Borumba Dam is part of the Mary Basin reserve, developed to promote the previously mooted Traveston Crossing dam.
Borumba Dam is part of the Mary Basin reserve, developed to promote the previously mooted Traveston Crossing dam. Craig Warhurst

Our huge water store's 'a myth'

AS THE Queensland Government abolishes compulsory rainwater tanks, lifts Brisbane water restrictions and takes advantage of huge stockpiles of water in all its dams, the Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee says there is one reserve which the Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps should not rely on.

That is the mythical 150,000 megalitre "strategic reserve" which is still claimed to be available, reliably and every year, from the Mary River.

MRCCC catchment officer Steve Burgess says the figure was developed in an attempt to make the Traveston Crossing dam look more worthwhile.

"It was written into the Water Resource Plan in 2006 and is legally there, in the sense that Mr Cripps is entitled to allocate it," Mr Burgess told The Gympie Times.

But this does not mean the water really exists in such quantity on a reliable basis.

The figure was derived by a complex and almost esoteric process, based on hydrological modelling, the construction of some sort of big dam in the river, all existing irrigation allocations and the needs of urban residents.

"The Beattie government came up with it through a not well explained process," Mr Burgess said yesterday.

"They came up with this figures, based on different sets of assumptions, but this situation does not exist.

"They need to re-look at it," he said.

The issue re-emerged in an answer presented by Mr Cripps in response to a question on notice from independent Nicklin MP Peter Wellington.

Mr Wellington asked if the figure was from "modelling based on a large dam in the Mary River" and if the "hydrological modelling (on which it is based) needs to be redone".

Mr Cripps, apparently demonstrating his faith in Beattie government pro-dam science, told Mr Wellington in a written answer that "the 150 gigalitres referred to is the volume of water that can be sustainably made available in the Mary Basin water resource plan area".

"The plan does not specifically designate this volume of water to the previously proposed Traveston dam.

"The volume was identified using the Integrated quantity/ quality model which uses long-term hydrological data to enable assessments of water availability to be undertaken.

"This strategic reserve was associated with the previously proposed Traveston Crossing dam."

He said the perception that this meant the dam was still proposed "is not correct".


Departments trot out same dam as Bligh

The false science behind Beattie's and Bligh's government attempts to justify the Traveston Crossing dam is still being taken seriously by the LNP Government.

Few can fathom the process by which the Natural Resources Department, now run by Minister Andrew Cripps, arrived at its pro-dam conclusion that the Mary Basin could reliably supply water from an alleged 150,000 Ml strategic reserve of water.

Actual water in the basin is thought by most with on-ground expertise, to be much less than that, especially if all existing irrigation and urban use allocations were fully used.

The water exists as a legal fiction, however. And Mr Cripps is entitled to allocate it, if only it were really there.

There has never been any independent peer review of the reserve or the science behind claims that it exists, the MRCCC points out.