Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Inquiry told fracking wells could be drilled through drinking water aquifers - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Inquiry told fracking wells could be drilled through drinking water aquifers - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A WA parliamentary inquiry has been told that wells for fracking to release natural gas could be drilled through public drinking water aquifers.

Roebuck Plains Wet Season image Kimberley Media

The Department of Mines and Petroleum's Jeff Haworth told the inquiry he would prefer energy companies to drill away from public water sources. However, he said drilling may be approved by the regulator, the DMP, if companies met safety requirements on well design.

The department says it believes there has been no drilling for oil and gas in a public drinking water area although there has been drilling in water catchment areas like the Swan River and Whicher Range in south-west WA.The Water Department can advise against fracking below public water supplies but it has no veto over the practice.The Health Department says it is concerned about the impact of shale gas fracking on the environment and public health. Chief health officer Tarun Weeramanthri told the parliamentary inquiry he was worried about the possible contamination of water supplies from chemicals used in fracking and air pollution.




    Billions of litres of water bursts out of WA pipes

    Burst or leaking pipes wasted 30 BILLION LITRES of water - or 30 PATERSONS STADIUMS FILLED TO THE GOAL POSTS - in the past twelve months, according to WA Auditor General Colin Murphy.

    In his latest report tabled in parliament on Wednesday, Mr Murphy labelled the loss of water 'disappointing' and found that another 13 billion litres of water was also consumed but not billed, largely because of metering errors.

    The Water Corporation supplied 357.39 billion litres of drinking water across Western Australia in 2012-13.

    In his report, Mr Murphy said that while the network generally performed well, pipes are only replaced when they fail and ageing infrastructure is set to cause repair costs to soar from $9 million in 2010 to $40 million by 2019.

    "While water loss cannot be completely eliminated from any network, it can be minimised, and it is disappointing that the Water Corporation is currently losing over 10 billion litres a year more than their benchmark," Mr Murphy said.

    The Water Corporation uses a internationally accepted 'minimum loss' benchmark for leakages. In 2012-13 it was 10 billion litres above the benchmark. Between 7 and 8 billion litres of water is unaccounted for and thought to be from undetected leaking pipes.

    "The Water Corporation is tackling water loss through its leak detection program and that has prevented an estimated 3.4 billion litres of leakage over the past three years," Mr Murphy said.

    "Water Corporation currently does not consider undetected water leakage in prioritising pipe replacement. Bringing this into its approach would strengthen efforts to reduce water loss."

    In response to the report, opposition water minister Dave Kelly criticised the Barnett Government slashing $350 million from the Water Corporation's maintenance program in the 2013-14 budget.

    "It's very simple – if you cut $350 million from the Water Corporation's maintenance budget in an ageing system, it will cause huge amounts of water to be wasted," Mr Kelly said.

    "This huge cut to water pipe maintenance will mean we will continue to see more water disasters like the ones that caused traffic chaos in the Perth CBD last year.

    "New Water Minister Mia Davies must come out today and explain how she will prevent this extraordinary waste from continuing into the future and what she will do to re-instate at least some of the funding cut from the maintenance budget.

    "This is an enormous amount of water to waste in a state where every drop is precious. The Water Corporation should be leading the charge in terms of water-saving measures in WA but this report shows it has lost all credibility."

  2. https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/33202

    Western Australia's water crisis

    Wednesday, February 16, 2005

    ...............Connor also observed that if "the sort of money being talked about by the premier and the opposition leader was put towards water conservation and efficiency measures for business, industry and households, Perth wouldn't be facing a water crisis".

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, households use only 13% of WA's total water consumption, compared with 28% for industry, and 40% for agriculture. While household use is not expected to rise significantly over the next few years, industry's water consumption is growing at a rapid rate.

    As WA Greens MP Dee Margetts observed in a February 8 statement, "There are enough southwest resources — if properly managed — to cope with urban [household] demand, and the Coalition's canal appears to be more about plumping up the cotton industry and other huge commercial consumers at taxpayers expense."



    The Real Cost of Water: Canal vs Desalination Plants

    By: Sarah CURRAN

    Published: 29/08/2008

    ..................Cost estimates for the construction of the desalination plant provide a saving of over $10 billion when compared with sourcing water from the Kimberley.

    In a media statement, the Water Corporation’s Chief Executive Jim Gill said, “this plant is needed to restore the supply-demand balance knocked about by climate change and to cater for rapid growth.”

    Philip Jennings, Professor in Energy Studies from Murdoch University, who has held positions at the Conservation Council of WA and The Wetlands Conservation Society told 3rd Degree the environmental impact of building the Kimberley canal would have been greater than the Binningup desalination plant.

    “There are concerns about water and what would happen to it along the way. It would take a couple of weeks for the water to come from the Kimberley to Perth, in that time bacteria could breed in it and there would be severe environmental health concerns involved as well as the disruption to wild life and migration,” he said.

    Steven McKiernan, the Water Policy Officer from the Conservation Council of WA stated that water is not going to waste in the Kimberley, despite the fact that much of it is not used by people.

    "Merely because a river and it's water are not being used by humans directly does not mean the water is going to waste. It is providing an economic good known as ecosystem services," he said.

    Mr McKiernan said the environmental problems surrounding desalination were relatively benign when compared to the damming of rivers.


    Kimberley Water Source Project: Pipelines and canals

    .....................The canal proposal is the most simple of the land-based proposals - it is merely a channel dug from the Kimberley to Perth - but it has a number of drawbacks.

    Professor Reg Appleyard, the chairman of the Kimberley Water Source Project, says canals pose a risk to people and animals living along the route.

    "The danger of the canal is that vulnerable to people getting into it and not being able to get out, animals getting into it and dying," he said.

    Canals are also vulnerable to the elements and could be severely disrupted by cyclones or storms.

    "That could cause a great deal of dislocation," he said.

    "[There would be] strong winds pushing the dust and sand into the canal [and] trying to prevent the evaporation that inevitably going to occur."

  3. Canals
    Some people have suggested that water could be transported long distances across Australia by canals, which are open channels cut through the land. A small slope can be enough for gravity-fed movement of water through a short canal. However, as is the case for pipelines, pumping would be required to move water through canals over longer distances.

    A canal needs to follow the contours of the land. This means it tends to be much longer than a direct pipeline. For example, a direct coastal route from the Kimberley to Perth is 1900 km long, but a canal would have to follow a 3700 km long route. A canal would also need to pass over or under roads, rivers and other obstructions. See Figure 1 for the length of other options.

    Canals lose water through leakage and evaporation. A 3700 km long canal from the Kimberley to Perth could lose 93 GL per year to evaporation, and a further 125 GL per year to leakage, even if the best lining techniques are used. To account for these losses, such a canal would need to draw at least twice as much water as is needed for consumption.

    To prevent seepage and minimise friction, canals are often lined with concrete. Fencing may also be required to help minimise water contamination, or to provide safety barriers. These factors add to the expense of canal construction. Canals leave a lasting and permanent mark on the land, and they change and disrupt natural water flows.13


    The most commonly suggested method of transporting water is through a concrete and steel pipe, running either above or below the ground. Regular pumping stations would be required to maintain the pipeline’s flow over a long distance.

    Pipelines minimise the amount of water lost to evaporation, because the water is not exposed to air or sunlight. Pipelines can also help to maintain water quality. However, the water may still need to be treated at both the source and at the end point, with any treatment processes adding to the significant energy and greenhouse costs of piping water.

    A pipeline from the north to the south of Australia would rate among the longest water transfer projects in the world. Some people have suggested that pipelines could supply water to towns and agriculture along the way, for irrigation, native vegetation, or town and community water supplies. The economic, environmental and social costs of pipelines and other water transport options all vary, depending on factors such as the amount of water to be diverted, and the path the pipeline would take.

    A report to the Western Australian Government about piping water from the Kimberley to Perth found that it was not an economically viable option. The cost of water transported through a pipeline or canal, in that instance, would be between 100 and 200 times more than normal prices for bulk water.12


    Water for the Future

    Moving water long distances: Grand schemes or pipe dreams?

  4. Where would the water come from — and is there enough?

    Proposals to transport water from northern Australia vary, but they all rely on excess water being available for extraction. This depends on a range of factors, including:

    • the reliability of rainfall across northern Australia

    • the current and likely future availability of water in northern Australia

    • the current and potential future uses of the north’s water resources

    • the practicality of capturing and storing water before being diverted, and

    • environmental, cultural, economic and political considerations.

    Rainfall in northern Australia
    Rainfall patterns in northern Australia are very different from those in southern Australia. The seasons of the northern Australian tropics can be loosely divided into two distinctly different periods — wet and dry.

    During the dry season, which lasts up to nine months of the year, there is little or no rain. In fact, in many parts of northern Australia, evapotranspiration is higher than rainfall for most of the year.14 Water scarcity can be an issue for communities and ecosystems. People living in the tropics use dams and bores for their water supply to cope with these unreliable and seasonal rainfall patterns.

    During the wet season, the north can receive extreme rainfall from thunderstorms, monsoon depressions and cyclones. For a few months each year, more rain falls than is lost to evaporation. This rainfall accounts for around 65 per cent of Australia’s total water runoff. The north’s annual runoff can occur over just a few days. Most of this water runs to the sea, but some plays an important role in the annual recharge of aquifers (geological formations that hold groundwater).15

    When people hear that a large amount of Australia’s rainfall runs off into the ocean, they sometimes think that this water is ‘wasted’. However, it is important to remember that this water is vital to the health of ocean ecosystems and estuaries. Also, because rainfall in the north is highly variable, both within each year and from year to year, estimates of annual average rainfall for the north can be quite misleading. A single extremely wet year can dramatically increase the long-term average.16

    Rivers and catchments in northern Australia

    Northern Australia has the largest area of unregulated rivers and catchments (those without dams or water extraction) in Australia. Most estuaries are in a near pristine condition, because human land use has had minimal impact, and pests and weeds are not widespread.17

    Floods are vital ecosystem events that flush nutrients into the near-shore marine environment and provide on-shore breeding grounds for marine creatures. When water flows over riverbanks and across floodplains, it fills hollows and pools that persist throughout the dry season. This sustains vital ecosystems that provide refuges for birds and animals until the next wet season.18 Large amounts of runoff can also trigger waterbirds to breed, and fish to spawn and migrate.19


    Water for the Future

    Moving water long distances: Grand schemes or pipe dreams?

  5. The lunatics are still running the asylum...........


    Liberal MP pushes referendum on Kimberley - Perth canal

    DateAugust 10, 2011
    Comments 4

    A referendum on piping water from the Kimberley to Perth would finally give Premier Colin Barnett green light to go ahead with the plan, Federal Liberal MP Don Randall says.

    Mr Randall has thrown his support behind a motion that will be debated at the WA Liberal Party conference on the weekend which calls on the government to hold a referendum on bringing water from the north.

    The idea was central to the Liberal Party's 2005 election campaign in which the then opposition leader Mr Barnett committed to building a 3700km concrete canal to carry water from the north to Perth.

    Despite Mr Barnett stating it would cost about $2 billion, a report commissioned by the former Labor government found it would cost $14.5 billion.

    The plan was widely blamed as the reason the Liberals lost the election.

    Mr Randall said a referendum on the issue would finally give West Australians a say on the issue and ''bring it to a conclusion about the way the public really feel about it''.

    ''It would give the premier the imprimatur; it takes the politics out of it and would be somewhat of a mandate for the premier to go ahead with the permission of the people.''

    The Member for Canning said bringing water from the north would future-proof Perth for generations and would be far better for the environment than the desalination plant south of Mandurah.

    He said he believed the public had always been behind the plan but it was bureaucrats who sunk the idea by mocking it with statements like it being ''cheaper to bring scotch whiskey down a pipeline''.

    ''Fortune favours the brave and a brave premier and potential statesman like Colin Barnett would do well not to listen to water bureaucrats,'' Mr Randall said.

    ''They don't like this because they didn't think of it and can't put their stamp on it, so we've got to take this decision away from them.''

    Mr Barnett said he did not support a referendum on the idea but believes it is inevitable water will be brought from the north in the future.

    Liberal upper house MP Nigel Hallett, who represents the state's south west region battling drought, said the government should certainly look at bringing water from the north.


    NOT YET...........


    700 km gas pipeline for Australia’s Northern Territory

    Australia’s Northern Territory could be connected via a new gas pipeline to the Eastern Seaboard grid.

    The country’s largest gas pipeline company APA Group met Chief Minister Adam Giles earlier to discuss plans to connect the Territory to the main grid, a move that would revolutionise the Territory's gas supply network and open up land-locked gas deposits.

    A 700 km gas pipeline

    APA Group Managing Director Mick McCormack said a spur line could extend 700 km from the existing Territory gas line at Tennant Creek to Mt Isa in Queensland.

    It would cost around Aus$ 500 million to build, he added.

    Security of gas supply

    The Northern Area Gas Scheme (NORGAS) grid already covers Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and South Australia, so connecting the Territory to this network would provide security of supply.

    APA Group has Aus$ 12 billion in assets, more than 14 000 km of pipes and is the largest gas transporter in the nation, piping 50% of all natural gas consumed in Australia.

    Australian Pipeline Industry Association reaction

    APIA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright has welcomed the proposal and said she wants greater assurance for the long-term future of Australian gas by accessing broader supply from a diverse range of sources.

    "Projects like this have the potential to unlock the development of Australia's unconventional gas reserves and increase the supply of gas to our largest local markets," she said.

    APIA has recommended a technology neutral energy investment policy that eliminates government grants.

    The organisation says that would allow renewables, clean coal, gas and other technologies to compete for investment funds through co-investment on the basis of competitive bidding.



    19 February 2014

    The Giles Government has welcomed news a major national gas industry player is investigating a pipeline between the Territory and the east coast.

    APA announced to the Australian stock exchange today that they would spend $2 million on a feasibility study into a pipeline linking the group’s Territory assets to its east coast grid which extends from Queensland to Victoria.


    “The Territory Government knows this isn’t the only pipeline company interested in undertaking a feasibility study. It’s is a sign of how much potential such a pipeline holds and the level of confidence gas companies have in the Northern Territory.

    “A gas pipeline is nation-building infrastructure and exactly what Australia needs to secure a stable long-term gas supply chain.

    “The proposal being explored by APA would create a 9000 km system of pipelines delivering Territory gas to southern states which are desperate for gas.

    “The proposed pipeline link would be an open access pipeline that can be used by any producer, retailer or gas user. This infrastructure has huge potential to stimulate investment in the Territory’s vast onshore gas assets.

    “The Territory is estimated to have potential reserves of unconventional gas totalling approximately 240 trillion cubic feet across six basins. A pipeline is the key to unlocking this potential.

    “In announcing its decision to pursue the pipeline proposal, APA noted the Territory Government’s support for the project, as well as strong interest from producers and customers."

    The $2 million study will aim to provide a sound understanding of the gas production potential in the Territory and South Australia and actual demand from potential gas buyers on the east coast, as well as addressing land access and engineering issues.

    Once the study is concluded, APA says it will be in a position to negotiate commercial terms with shippers to reach a Financial Investment Decision.

    1. AS PREDICTED.................

      everything is going to the NT because Barnett's lunatic behaviour has scared the shit out of them!

      The Top Enders have always laughed at the poor management over in Sandgroper land..........

      They must be fairly pissing themselves now.

      And it's all Barnett's fault because of his mad obsession with JPP!

  7. prodigy oil and gas has increased their level to produce more curd oil

  8. I've never understood why projects like that were ever permitted. There should be no problem drilling for oil, but hopefully, it doesn't occur in areas with surrounding water. It's concerning in the sense that it could highly affect the public's health. How are they failing to see that fact? I wonder if they're just deciding to be oblivious about the whole thing as long as they know they're "doing their job."

    Jermaine Ryan @ Loadcraft