Now, there have been renewed calls for construction of Hells Gates Dam, and post-COVID-19, this could well be included as a new "nation building project". As such, NQCC has conducted a review to examine its feasibility as well as environmental impact and presented this to MP for Herbert, Phillip Thompson. The review examined documents that represent three perspectives: proponents of the dam, water-security interests and environmental impact.
In terms of feasibility, the review found that the Burdekin Falls dam (with the improved Haughton pipeline) will be adequate for Townsville's projected water needs for the next 60 years. Additionally, economic returns are based on optimal crop production, yet still appear to be limited with low internal rates of return. As such, the dam cannot be justified on water security grounds, and with great difficulty in terms of economic returns.
Most importantly, the environmental impacts will be profound. As well as loss of habitat due to land-clearing and inundation, the dam will result in the river flow below the dam to the present Burdekin Falls Dam, a length of 270km (52% of the length of the Burdekin) to become permanently turbid, and - along with the Burdekin Falls Dam - will remove >30% of the river flow. This has the potential to affect nutrient supply to the reef and cause erosion to the narrow spit of land that is Cape Bowling Green.
NQCC will continue to follow proposals for Hells Gates Dam construction and alert State and Federal parliaments of the potential environmental impacts and lack of economic feasibility. You can read our most recent updates on our blog.
Read the full review here.
There is no need for the Hells Gates Dam and it makes no sense! When Townsville faced a water crisis several years ago, all sorts of suggestions were made about the best way to secure a water supply for Townsville. The Hells Gates Dam was suggested by many as the way to guarantee water supply for Townsville, but we disagree.Read more
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:
- Part 1: Townsville Water Discussion Paper (Gail Hamilton)
- Part 2: Water Wonderland or Pipe Dreams? (Vern Veitch, re Hell's Gate Dam)
- Part 3: Hell’s Gate Dam Forum (Maree Dibella for NQCC)
- Part 4: How will climate change affect Townsville’s water security? (Malcolm Tattersall)
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.Read more
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.
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.Read more
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!Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
This is the second part in a four-part series that discusses issues about water in our region. Read part 1 here. Part three is a summary report of information shared by Townsville Enterprise Ltd. about the Hell’s Gate Dam feasibility study at our forum that was held on 10 October. Part four asks how climate change will affect our region’s water security.
Guest post written by Vern Veitch. All views expressed are the author’s and not the official opinion of NQCC.
With Townsville in a drought and under Level 3 water restrictions, the public are asking a lot of questions. Water falls out of the sky so why does it cost so much? Why don’t we just build another dam? If the dams are on higher ground, then why does water have to be pumped?
Mainstream media in Townsville certainly muddies the waters by publishing half-truths and not publishing all the really important bits of information. Through a concerted media effort, the public has been led to believe that Hell’s Gate is the answer to endless and cheap water.Read more
In this month’s Paperbark we have lots of updates about our campaigns and important details about upcoming events – including our AGM and Hell’s Gate Dam forum next Monday and our annual trivia night.
In this issue: Adani updates – save ARENA wrap – dead dugongs – marine parks – local water security – Boomerang Bags – saving frogs – divestment day – AGM and Hell’s Gate forum – our annual trivia night – Aussie Backyard Bird CountRead more