08 January, 2011

Dams

Letter published in today's Weekend Australian:
"At last a senior politician has had the political courage to tell it like it is.("Dam them -- Abbott's solution to harness flooded rivers", 7/1). The last seven to 10 years of drought and the recent "big wet" is a classic example of Australia's natural variability.

We need to conserve water from the big wet events, when retention has minimal environmental impacts and in many cases is flood mitigation. In these circumstances a tiny proportion of the flow amounts to a lot of water.

It should be recognised that during the recent drought years, if it were not for the storages in the catchment of the Murray, the Snowy diversions and restrictions on irrigation, the Murray River would have stopped flowing as it has done several times since white settlement.

This fact demonstrates the value of dams in a country with such variable rainfall and we need more of them.

David Boyd, St Ives, NSW

The following sentence at the end of the second paragrph was omitted from the published letter-"Such storages need to be efficient (read deep for evaporation minimisation), and built in a manner which allows smaller flows to pass when there are real environmental or critical human needs downstream."
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