The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Toowoomba's Cooby Dam and Cressbrook Dam - reports ordered into spillway adequacy ...

The department has also ordered reports on the adequacy of spillways at Cooby Dam and Cressbrook Dam near Toowoomba and Baroon Pocket Dam on the Sunshine Coast as part of an ongoing investigation into dam safety.

See - Courier Mail - Queensland dams overflowing with risk for local residents.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


15 October 2009


Today, a coalition of concerned groups issues a direct challenge to Minister Hinchcliffe regarding his claims that the proposed Traveston Crossing dam is the most cost effective option for South East Queensland’s water security,

“SEQ can be climate proofed , for a mere $10M” , said Narelle Mcarthy Sunshine Coast Environment Council manager. “We challenge Mr Hincliffe to explain why he is pursuing a multi billion dollar option when the Government’s own Queensland Water Commission has identified a vastly cheaper options that provides much more water.”

The option proposed was outlined in a QWC report titled ‘PROVISION OF CONTINGENCY STORAGE IN WIVENHOE & SOMERSET DAMS’ 2007 and involves raising the height of Wivenhoe dam 2m, a measure that would also contribute to the safety of the dam. The report states that this option “provides a significant increase in storage, 228,000ML, for a relatively small capital cost (i.e. compared to a greenfield site) and could be achieved relatively simply.”

“By pursuing Traveston instead of raising Wivenhoe, Hinchcliffe is asking Queenslanders to pay sixty times more to get, at best, a third less water! He’s asking us to fork out for a Rolls Royce and in return he’s going to give us a BMX with flat tyres ,. “explained Dave Kreutz from the Save the Mary River Coordinating Group.

Roger Currie from WBBCC said, “End of system flows into the Moreton Ramsar could be ensured using water produced by the western corridor recycled scheme, which is surplus to power generation requirements , at the Bundamba Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant is having maintenance problems from lack of use. The use of this water would compensate for any reduction in flows from the extra storage in Wivenhoe, and improve water quality in the dry times, this is a win/ win situation , for the Bligh government."

Tanzi Smith from Greater Mary Association said , “This enables the fisheries, tourism and ecosystems services of the Moreton Ramsar , to be protected , as the recycled water acts as an alternative environmental flow to Moreton Bay. It also allows the Premier to ‘walk the talk’ of being green, rather than pretend that there are 1200 reasons to build Traveston Dam “.

12:33 PM, October 16, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raising Wivenhoe's dam wall for $10m? Even the government thinking about an idea seems to cost $10m in consultancy fees.

10:21 AM, October 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't seen to mind that some-one else drinks recycle water as long as they don't build your dam!!
A dam is the solution but I agree that it should not be built at Traverston Crossing. They have another position at Amamore and it would create a deeper dam.

Now that the Bligh government pumps recycled water to the power stations there is significantly more water in Wivenhoe Dam for the people. They should be using the ballance of their production of recycled sewage for industry but they can not get any takers.

11:41 AM, October 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to agree with your comment anon, though the 10 million estimate does come from their own study. Still I reckon it would be a cheaper option than a half szed Traveston which they estimated to cost $1.8 billion, over 3 years ago.

What the actual costs will be if they acually get around to building it 2013 is also anybodies guess.

The costs to pump the water from Traveston to Brisbane (and back again if needed) is also up for speculation.

Incidentally the costs for the "Sunshine Coast express" pipeline to Brisbane is independent of the guestimated cost for "Mini Me" Traveston. Somewhere around $400 million last I heard.

2:04 PM, October 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You don't seen to mind that some-one else drinks recycle water as long as they don't build your dam!!"

I never expressed a personal opinion about recycled water for human consumption. Around the Mary Valley some support it, some don't. Most people around the Valley have lived with tank water, small dams and bore water as their primary water supply, and are very aware of the need to conserve and manage their water resources.

It do however see some potential uses for it in power stations and for industrial and agricultural use, but have many personal reservations about the safety issues involved, if standards are ignored or lowered, costs are cut, or in the event of accidental contamination occurring to the Somerset/Wivenhoe catchment during the purification process.

There are many alternative sites for a dam, if one must be built, which would be less destructive and provide better yeilds than Traveston. The "Bigger Borumba" option, the one that is outlined above and I sometimes wonder if the old Wolfdene site is still feasible?

Traveston was pulled out of Beattie's hat basically to save his political hide from Brisbane voters during a dought stricken QLD election. It was a bad choice then and is an even worse choice now, with the subsequent analysis and the studies done since that announcement. Being a traditional non labor voting area the MV was a soft political target.

There are many better and cheaper options available to the QLD taxpayer than Traveston.

9:49 AM, October 18, 2009

Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

Clash of the 'anonymouses'.

10:55 AM, October 18, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerned Ratepayer, this debate should have occurred before Traveston and before the Toowoomba debate. We should never have been in a position where population growth and drought, forced politicians to pull “Armageddon” solutions out of the bag to cover for their inadequate planning.

Even allowing for the doubts, that the now half sized “mini-me”, Traveston will resolve any water supply problems in SEQ until 2015 at the earliest, if it approved and then survives the high court challenges that are set to follow.

Since Beattie's knee jerk reaction, several of the government’s own studies have shown that there are better and cheaper options available. Improving Wivenhoe's capacity is but one that may not only save the Mary Valley from Traveston but may also alleviate Toowoomaba and SEQ residents being forced to accept other “Armageddon” solutions.

The Mary Valley anonomous.

12:20 PM, October 18, 2009

Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

Correct although many Traveston Dam opponents fell for Beattie's 'divide and conquer' play.

The combined Toowoomba No voters and Traveston Dam opponents could have been a powerful block but many Traveston Dam opponents were convinced that if Toowoomba drank recycled water Traveston Dam wouldn't be built - hence the busloads of Traveston Dam opponents who came to Toowoomba on polling day in 2006 to urge people to vote Yes.

It was a nonsense and offended many No voters that non-Toowoomba people would butt into what was then a local issue.

5:38 PM, October 18, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerned ratepayer, I think many people in the MV have learnt a lot of hard lessons about the political machine and how it operates. No doubt many in the Mary Valley are now much wiser about forming political alliances.

Mary Valley anonomous

10:04 PM, October 18, 2009

Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

Agree. While Toowoomba still deals with the possibility of recycled water, this problem is dwarfed by some of the social problems in the Mary Valley created by the Qld government.

10:27 PM, October 18, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerned Ratepayer at least Toowoomba had a vote on the recycled water issue. From the Sunshine Coast to Bundaberg any politician that stood in favour of Traveston was voted out and had little chance of being elected in the last QLD election. I guess our votes did not count.

If you take the EPA seriously Traveston never stood much of a chance of being Federally approved from the start, as witnessed by the 1200 conditions as laid out by the QLD AG in his submission to Garrett. That is without the massive social and engineering problems taken into account. It really is the wrong place for a functioning dam, which is supposed to resolve QLD's water and population crisis. Even more puzzling now that it has been downsized.

Many in the Valley are questioning what happens if Garrett knocks it back? How do they recoup the millions already spent buying out the Valley? It seems the Government may already have a plan to use the once productive farmland for CO2 offsetting.

Mary Valley anonomous

9:41 AM, October 19, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just been to Mary Valley recently and some of the locals are still bitter about Toowoomba not voting for the recyled water. I was not impressed as the locals have set up a display at Kandanga. They want people to sign their letters of protest, but also are bitter towards as here in Toowoomba. One local was quite vocal that we used be using recyled water in our drinking supplies.

I am sorry but with that sort of attitude these people don't get my support.

1:39 PM, October 22, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should get over it.

1:51 AM, October 23, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why aren't they trying to get the politician to look at the alternate site for their dam as they have one?

As for them insisting that Toowoomba drink recycled sewage then they should study the issue and put them self in the same position.

If they are so keen on recycled sewage as a water supply then put that idea up as their solution and let them be the test case for the world.

8:33 AM, October 23, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they have been trying to get them to look at alternative sites. It's a bit hard when the pollies have already bought most of the land for Traveston.

12:21 PM, October 23, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Queensland's population is set to double in the next 20 years, much of that increase will be absorbed into the SEQ corner. A now half sized Traveston is not the solution to providing a reliable water supply to meet those demands.

Other options, desalination, recycling etc WILL be used to meet the demands of that that growth. I would suggest that by increasing the capacity of the existing Wivenhoe/Somerset catchment, if it is as feasible as the Government study suggests, may alleviate much of the the pressure to use the other available options.

The "Bigger Borumba" option, using the existing dam's catchment, would also deliver more water than the now Mini Traveston.

Mary Valley anonomous

10:55 AM, October 24, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mary Valley anonomous (sic) just how do you increase the size of a catchment? Please explain

6:52 PM, October 27, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dam walls?

1:02 AM, October 28, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the Ron McMah proposal to increase the catchment area and capacity of the present Borumba Dam.

The Wivenhoe proposal is outlined in the first post at the top of this page. It would involve, as stated in the QWC report ( Provision of Contingency Storage in Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams, 2007) the raising of the present wall by 2 metres. Both of these options have surfaced since Beattie's "Knee Jerk" Traveston option.

Also there are claims that a dams capacity can be vastly improved, through dredging and dozing, by deepening and improving an existing catchment in times of drought, when water levels are low.

Recycled water does have some uses, in power stations and irrigation. There are many in the Mary Valley that have doubts and reservations as to whether it is wise to allow it's use for human consumption.

Mary Valley anonymous (corrected)

11:12 AM, October 28, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the yield of a storage that counts and the height of the wall or more correctly the spillway that controls its full supply level, is only one factor governing how much water it delivers. And a catchment is a catchment (as made by - insert your deity of choice) and no amount of raising a dam wall can change that fact

You can raise the wall of a dam with a dodgy catchment and all you will end up with is storage proportionally more empty than before

10:32 PM, October 28, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you should still be anonomous. At least it's different from all the anonymouses!

1:36 AM, October 29, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

McMah dam plan gathers support

Arthur Gorrie
29th October 2009
Gympie Times

NEW support for a major alternative to the Traveston Crossing dam has been rejected by the Queensland Infrastructure Department but supporters of the plan say the department is living in the past.

The so-called “McMah Plan”, devised by Imbil grazier Ron McMah, involves significantly raising Borumba Dam, massively increasing its storage capacity, combined with the water grid, to provide alternative water storage.

Anti-dam activists have also proposed raising Wivenhoe and/or Somerset dams, a plan rejected by the Infrastructure Department on the basis that the whole idea of Traveston Crossing is to gather water from an alternative catchment.

“But they are adjacent catchments and they get the same weather patterns,” Brisbane accountant John Hodgkinson said, after being attracted to the dam issue by what he calls 'statistical anomalies' in the government's case.

Mr McMah says that his idea stacks up against Traveston Crossing, especially now that Stage Two of the Traveston Crossing dam has been left out of government submissions to Canberra.

The department's response is that Stage Two “has not been ruled out” and Traveston Crossing dam would have a much larger catchment area than Borumba.

“A raised Borumba Dam would supply nowhere near the same quantity of water as Traveston Crossing dam,” a departmental spokesperson has told The Gympie Times.

On the subject of Wivenhoe, the spokesperson said: “Traveston was chosen to provide south east Queensland with a new water source from a different catchment area to provide added security for the region.”

However, Mr Hodgkinson says the “different catchment” argument is misleading.

The spokesperson said raising the operating level of Wivenhoe Dam had been put forward and would involve not raising the dam itself but increasing its water storage levels to take up some of its also-important flood mitigation capacity.

Mr Hodgkinson said the government has not allowed for the fact that there is very little difference between the two catchment areas in terms of what rain they catch and when they catch it.

He says engineers GHD have said the Wivenhoe wall can be raised and government planners have not allowed for their own water grid as a way of pumping excess Wivenhoe water to other dams, including a raised Borumba. “I have no affiliation with any persons or parties whatsoever other than being a citizen of south east Queensland and I am not affected by the dam,” he said.

Opposition Infrastructure spokesperson David Gibson has also backed the McMah plan.

-Mary Valley Anonymous

The John Hodgkinson analysis for the Ron McMah plan is detailed here:

7:34 AM, October 29, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And a catchment is a catchment (as made by - insert your deity of choice) and no amount of raising a dam wall can change that fact. You can raise the wall of a dam with a dodgy catchment and all you will end up with is storage proportionally more empty than before"

Sorry I don't quite understand? I have a water tank that holds 5,000 gals. By your analysis I should not have bothered, saved a few dollars, and bought the 2,000 gallon one instead? My small dam has about 2 metres of accumulated silt on the bottom, if I removed it, when water levels are low, would this not increase it's storage capacity when it does rain?

Traveston was designed to be commissioned in two stages (apparently stage two is now in doubt). The dam wall is to be built so that the stage two catchment area is made operational by a simple adjustment of the spillway gates.

Mary Valley anonymous

11:18 AM, October 31, 2009


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