Water and Waterways

Swan culling highlights dying Gippsland Lakes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Over Autumn/Winter 08, farmers were given permits to shoot dozens of native Black Swans who were moving from the Gippsland Lakes’ onto farm paddocks to graze. Why? Because the Lakes have become so sick and contaminated that much of the area is dying, including the Swan’s food, the water grasses.

The issuing of permits to shoot hungry swans was a lazy response to a deeply serious problem. The Bairnsdale Department of Sustainability and Environment’s wildlife officer didn’t think beyond a packet of bullets.

The Gippsland White Elephant?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Gippsland Water Factory is being built to treat and recycle water for industrial use at a cost of $200 million. About 70% of the water to be recycled is planned to come from PaperlinX pulp and paper factory and be reused by them as well. But AP’s PaperlinX has had its water rates frozen for five years, meaning … the good citizens of Gippsland will be paying for the company’s water recycling and use. But it gets worse...

Coast to be inundated

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It’s now official - the Gippsland coast faces the double whammy of sea level rise and coastal subsidence.
In July, the Gippsland Coastal Board released a report detailing these problems, saying the coast is highly erodible, making it very vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surges. This could damage estuaries, rivers, bays and inlets, erode dunes and cause fresh water ecosystems to collapse. The other problem is the decades of oil and gas extraction causing subsidence of inland areas and underground aquifers being impacted.

Like trying to mix water and woodchips

Sunday, July 27, 2008

In April 2008, Peter Campbell from EEG attended a ‘Stakeholder Reference Group’ meeting, as part of the government’s “Wood and Water Sustainability Assessment Project”. It was as we expected - a poorly devised process to maintain the status quo.

The group is to look at options to address water loss due to logging in catchments. It was a promise by the Bracks government in its 2004 report "Securing our Water Future Together". It was also to provide studies and investigations but they remain unfinished.

EEG’s concerns about the process include:

Plantations suck!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

In mid 2008, a positive move by the Brumby government could see plantation companies have to pay for the water their thirsty trees soak up which would otherwise flow into streams and rivers. The idea is worrying plantation growers across the state, from the Strzelekis to south west Victoria. Charging for the rain that is soaked up on private property before it reaches streams could be controversial and have wider implications - let’s hope.

Desal plant

Friday, February 8, 2008

Another curious approval is that of the low lying desalination plant proposed for Wonthaggi. If it ever happens, it will supply Melbourne with 330 gigalitres of water a year and cost $3.1 billion (pre-blowout estimate). The plant will emit 945,000 tonnes CO2 a year, equal to putting another quarter of a million cars on the roads.