Townsville's Water Security

The upper reaches of Ross Dam in November 2014
 ross river dam

Between them, the very low level of Ross Dam, TCC's water restrictions (currently Level 3) and the continuing lack of rain focused unprecedented attention on Townsville's water security from 2015 onwards and particularly from 2016 after the city recorded its driest-ever year in 2015 (2016 was not much better). It seems that most people realise there is no single solution - that we will have to approach the problem on several fronts to fix it - but there is little agreement on priorities.


NQCC published four blog posts under the heading NQCC Water Security Series towards the end of 2016:

A Case For a Floating Solar Farm in Townsville’s Ross River Dam (Elly Hanrahan) is not nominally part of the series but follows naturally from it.

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A Case For a Floating Solar Farm on Townsville’s Ross River Dam

This study on the viability of a Floating Solar Farm on the Ross Dam is a guest post by Elly Hanrahan, an intern for the North Queensland Conservation Council. All views expressed are the author's and not necessarily those of the NQCC.

A Floating Solar Farm In Japan – Photo by Charles Goodell

Townsville is currently experiencing its driest 11-month period since records began in 1841. With no action on water security from any level of government, desperate residents have formed the newly created Facebook group called ‘Water For Townsville Action Group’ in order to come up with a plan to secure Townsville’s water supply into the future.

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Postcard art exhibition and auction

Postcard art Invitation

Artist: Carol Griffiths

Coal. Sugar. Reef. Magik.

An invitation to submit works for North Queensland Conservation Council’s’s biennial postcard art exhibition held in association with Umbrella Studio.

The postcard art auction is a creative and fun way of raising much-needed funds to enable NQCC to maintain the struggle to protect our precious environment.

After an extended exhibition period (27 Jan – 5 March), all art works will be auctioned (3 March), with funds going to support the work of NQCC.

Please consider a creative contribution!

We also invite artists and supporters to submit new logo ideas for NQCC. We prefer to include an iconic local species, like the snubnose dolphin, and return to our colours of green and ochre. There will definitely be a prize for the best logo idea!

Artworks and logo ideas are due by 20 January 2017.
Deliver to NQCC, 114 Boundary St, Railway Estate, or
Mary Who? Bookshop 414 Flinders St
Please include entry form
The exhibition opens on 27th January, auction is 3 March 2017.

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Paperbark December 2016 - Mr Adani Comes to Town

Welcome to the final Paperbark for 2016! This month, we are welcoming an intern – Elly Hanrahan, who is studying a Bachelor of Advanced Environmental Science and Global Challenges (Honours). Elly is already proving to be a strong member of our team and is doing great work helping out with campaigns.

In this issue: Mr Adani Visits Townsville – Townsville Port Expansion – Hinchinbrook Island National Park Management Plan – Queensland Environment Roundtable – Postcard Exhibition 2017 - and more!

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Yellow crazy ants in the tropics - it’s not over yet

This guest post is contributed by the Invasive Species Council. The Invasive Species Council campaigns for stronger laws, policies and programs to keep Australia’s native plants and animals safe from weeds, feral animals and other invaders.

yellow crazy ants

The battle to protect Queensland’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area from yellow crazy ants has had new life breathed into it with the promise of $10.5 million over the next three years, enough to resuscitate an eradication program that was on the verge of collapse.

The Federal Government has committed $7.5 million and Queensland will kick in another $3 million. However, the Wet Tropics Management Authority says it needs $15 million to eradicate the invasive ant. 

Yellow crazy ants are considered among the world’s worst invasive species. Unchecked they form super colonies that can devastate native animal populations and turn rainforests into ghost towns.

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How will climate change affect Townsville’s water security?

This, the fourth post in our water security series, began as a response to the first of them, the Townsville Water Discussion Paper, and addresses an issue which none of the first three looked at. Parts 2 and 3 are here and here. This is a guest post by Malcolm Tattersall. Once again, views expressed are the author’s, not those of NQCC. 

When I read Gail Hamilton’s post six weeks ago I agreed with nearly all of it but noticed a gap which was potentially important, i.e. the impact of climate change on our water security: the ‘Regional Water Supply Security Assessment’ from the Department of Water and Energy Supply (2014) (pdf here), upon which she relied for her ‘current situation’ section, didn’t consider climate change effects at all.

That seemed quite odd to me since we know that climate change is with us already on a global level – that most of the hottest years on record have occurred this century, that desertification is a key driver of conflicts in the Middle East, and that sea level rise is drowning low-lying islands and threatening major cities around the world. Some of us have also been feeling, on a much more local and personal level, that Townsville has been having weaker Wet seasons and hotter summers than ever before, and I happened to know, because I looked at it recently, that Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) data backs up our feelings.

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Koster’s curse – time is on our side

This guest post is contributed by the Invasive Species Council. The Invasive Species Council campaigns for stronger laws, policies and programs to keep Australia’s native plants and animals safe from weeds, feral animals and other invaders.

koster's curse

Koster’s curse. Photo: Forest & Kim Starr (Licence: CCBY 2.0)

Koster’s curse has been described as Australia’s new lantana. A slow-growing invasive weed, it smothers pastures and the native understorey of tropical rainforests.

It poses a threat to agriculture and the rainforests of our wet tropics. In Hawaii it has smothered everything in its path and forced landowners off their land – a bleak outlook for Australia’s beautiful wet tropics.

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Paperbark November 2016

Another busy month at NQCC! November will be another eventful month, with Maree attending the Environment Roundtables with other Queensland enviro groups, NQCC hosting an intern, and our unmissable trivia night on the 19th – don’t forget to purchase your tickets!

In this issue: Townsville Port expansion – radioactive contamination at Ben Lomond – Adani ‘critical infrastructure’ – Hell’s Gate Dam forum wrap-up – fisheries reform – Marine Park review – Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – NQCC’s trivia night – EOI for 2017 postcard exhibition.

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Hell’s Gate Dam Forum

This is the third part in a four-part series that discusses issues about water in our region. Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here. Part four asks how climate change will affect our region’s water security. 

NQCC hosted a forum about the Hell’s Gate Dam feasibility study currently being conducted by Townsville Enterprise Ltd. NQCC was grateful to have the on-hand expertise of Patricia O’Callaghan (TEL CEO), David Lynch (principal economist for the study) and Jon Brodie (waterways expert). Here is what we were told about the dam and the study, plus questions that came from the audience.

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Port of Townsville Expansion

Click here to view the Additional Environmental Impact Statement for the Port expansion.

Click here to add your name to save our local waters from the Port’s muddy plan!

Click here to make a detailed submission using our template.


Media alert for Port forum 24 October “Community gathers about Port expansion plans”

Media release 19 October “The Port’s muddy plan for local waters just got bigger

Community forum at Magnetic Island RSL 26 October – RSVP here.

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