Thursday Thoughts # 87

from Wayward Wizard by Mary Kay McComas

"Brave men and foolish young boys die by their oath for nothing more than what is simply repeated acts of prejudice in God's name. It is wrong."

"Love and geeks make the world go around. Without one or the other it would come to a full stop."

"Sometimes people can say more with the shine in their eyes than with all the words in a dictionary."

"...because he was young and impatient and unaware that moments once lost are gone forever."

Today's Thoughts: focus on an article torn from last Sunday's newspaper, which was also featured on the Today Tonight show on Monday.

I'm going to print the entire article here, it's a fairly long one, but really tears at my heart strings.

Bold print is mine.

"Broken hill is dying, as slowly and surely as it's drying.
   That's the diagnosis from Dr Ramu Nachiappan, the town's GP of 25 years. The legendary old mining town and birthplace of BHP- Broken Hill Propriety- has been drained of its water supply by a deadly treble: too much water taken from the Darling River by cotton farmers to the north, too much sent to the south to flush the River Murray, and then a crippling drought.
   "The river is drying up, we don't get enough coming down from the north, and each time they empty the lakes it puts the town in this predicament," Dr Nachiappan said.
   "It's our lifeblood and they are letting it out."
   By August, the town - 500km north east of Adelaide - will be dry and even the little water it has, which is being drained from what's left of the Menindee Lakes, is hard, salty and treated within an inch of its life. It's *within acceptable drinking water guidelines*, but something is going on.
   Three weeks ago, mothers such as Tina Grillett started posting pictures online of their children's rashes.
   "He came out of the shower and had like a chemical burn; it's the hardness of the water," Mrs Grillett , 45, said.

   She wasn't alone. Dr Nachiappan confirmed many of the town's  children suffer from skin irritations.

   "I do believe that the kids' skin conditions are exacerbated by the current town water. I am seeing kids and adults with more skin problems than I have in the past few years related to skin irritation, presumably by local water," he said.

   "Psychologically it is starting to affect us. **This town is slowly being killed.** School teachers, lawyers, they won't come here, and Broken Hill will die, people have already started to move away."

   At Menindee Lakes, the system that used to hold more water than Sydney Harbor was drained in 2013 to flush the River Murray mouth. In the small township of Menindee, locals like Karen Page buy in water because there is a red alert for toxic blue green algae.
   "We usually draw water but we can't at the moment, it's too contaminated with blue green algae and salt and our treatment plant (at Menindee) is not capable of treating the water, so we have water trucked in," she said. John Brereton delivers potable water to the residents who once relied on the river.
   "That water will kill you, I don't know what's in it but animals are dying and everyone has rashes," Mr Brereton said. "A man was shifting his water pump in the river the other day and he broke out in sores."
   The newly formed Broken Hill Darling River Action Group points the finger at state and federal authorities who ***manage*** various parts of the Darling River system and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
   Action group secretary Darryn Clifton said they were investigating the possibility of a class action against the state government. "It's a man-made drought, we've been pushed into Third World standards, the water is disgusting, it affects the community, people refuse to bathe in it or drink it," he said.
   Broken Hill Mayor Wincen Cuy said the Murray Darling Basin Authority let out "an exorbitant amount of water" from Lake Menindee in2013, which had contributed to water restrictions, but the town had water to last until April 2017 before switching to bore water. 
   "The water is an issue and rightly so but ****we do have a supply until April 2017**** and the NSW Government is spending $500 million for a solution in the long term," Cr Cuy said.
   The state government announced a *****$500 million plan to secure a permanent water source***** for Broken Hill, which Mr Clifton says will force the town onto bore water. Water NSW has confirmed it is testing 11 production bores in the region."

*perhaps someone should review the guidelines, clearly the water is NOT drinkable
**I've jokingly (maybe) said in the past, that I believe those gubmint boffins are trying to kill off/shut down my state. On top of the highest utilities prices, highest fines for misdemeanors etc, this is just one more thing that reinforces my belief. 
****what good is that supply when people can't drink it; can't bathe in it; animals are dying from drinking it!
***** is this a full 100% forever-until-finished commitment? Or just until they suddenly need the money elsewhere and leave Broken hill in the lurch again?

Let's get back to something I've mentioned before; here and in comments on other blogs. 
Dams and pipelines. 

South Australia and Western Australia, perhaps other states too, have a system of large pipelines running across them, bringing water from one area that has plenty, to another area that needs it.
Many years ago, my brother, R, worked for SA Water helping to construct sections of this pipeline in SA. 
Why can't we do this again?

I have read, somewhere, a few years ago, that Queensland has enough annual rainfall to be able to supply the entire continent of Australia.
Year after year, Queensland suffers crippling floods in built up areas, people's homes and businesses are damaged. 

Why not take this idea from the past and begin (now) constructing dams to hold much of this flood water (construction job opportunities here); construct pipelines from these dams (more construction job opportunities) to other dams built in the arid states/areas of our country (even more construction job opportunities here) and then on to less populated inland areas to enable them to grow small towns, take communities to the interior. 
Build homes and schools for them (again, more jobs there for the currently unemployed thousands).

I know this is a long, long, long, term solution and will cost so much more than the bandaid measures our governments prefer, but how much more costly would it be if it was put off until, say, 2050?
Why not start now and save this country? 
Why can't the governments stop their childish bickering over who should be doing/paying for every damn thing and focus on the true needs of this wonderful country? 
Water would be a good start.


  1. I believe there are so many divisions now of people complaining and filling the courts and the news with minor, non-important, issues that the old stand-by of "see a problem, fix a problem" is worn thin. Water and food are of the highest priority and all the pipelines from the 1920s never were meant to be so taxed (physically) for so many.

    By the way, I've got my 3 second video on Youtube. How do I load it to my blog? I've got that long url, but I want the actual video.

  2. Managing the Menindee Lakes is not a new problem. It's been an issue for a very long time as has a lack of water in the very shallow lakes with a very high evaporation rate. It is a complex matter, but nor do I think extracting huge quantities of water from the the ground is environmentally a good idea. The solution, as you say, is to pipe the water in from where it is plentiful. It is quite correct that country towns will not survive without a decent water supply.

  3. I loved the quotes from the books, but you are right that article is heart-breaking.
    Long term solutions ARE needed. Quickly. And sadly the problem was brought about by greed.

  4. lotta joy; our problem is there aren't any pipelines from plentiful areas to drier states. As far as I know, all we have is a long section in SA built to support something somewhere, and the one in WA built to supply water to the gold mine area in its boom time. The rest of Australia is sadly neglected. We have vast uninhabitable areas because of no water supply. This is why most of the population is living along the coast.
    Are you with Blogger? Go to your 'new post' page, type any text you want in there, then at the top where you see the icon for adding pictures, just to the right is a black clapboard, the type they use when filming. Click on that and select 'from you tube' then in their search bar type the name of your video (or cut/paste the url) and click search. your video should show in the window, double click it to add it to your 'new post'

    Andrew; I think it's shameful how governments past and present have largely ignored the issue unless they will profit from it. For instance, the WA pipeline was built to support Kalgoorlie when gold mines and the town was built. Ditto the SA one I suppose. I never did find out why that was built, I always just assumed it was going to be repeated nationwide so everyone had fresh clean water.

    Elephant's Child; Long term solutions that are begun NOW is what is needed. Greed is a vile thing. i heard a quote on the radio a few minutes ago, "the world is run by those who turn up", I suppose that means if you want things done you should attend all those meetings and put your views forward until someone listens.

  5. Joh Bjelke-Petersen was the longest-serving Premier of Queensland - holding office from 1968 to 1987, during which time the state enjoyed considerable economic development. He was a controversial figure in many ways and he upset the apple carts of carts that needed upsetting, including the unions.

    Joh suggested running a pipeline to carry water from tropical North Queensland down through to the western interior areas who desperately needed/need water...and he was practically laughed out of office.

    Like him or loathe him, it matters not, Joh had some very good ideas and he did some very good things for this state, and if he'd been allowed to go ahead with his pipeline idea, it would've been constructed years and years ago at a far cheaper cost than it would nowadays!

    Most politicians of all persuasions, both State and Federal, couldn't run 10 yards, let alone run states or a country!

  6. We do eventually get most of Queensland's excess water. It sinks into underground rivers and slowly makes its way south and along the way, bores are drilled and up it comes.
    Broken Hill used enormous amounts of water in the glory days of its mining boom and never gave a thought to the poisons going back into the ground now it's coming back to bite them in the backside.
    Nothing just ever disappears, it's always waiting.

  7. Lee; if only they'd listened to Joh. When other politicians saw a successful pipeline they all would have jumped on the bandwagon.
    Well, the world is filled with "if onlys" :(

    JahTeh; you might get Queensland's excess water, but I think we're a bit too far west. And is eventually soon enough? Given the droughts that we all face periodically? Too often?
    I'd forgotten about the poisons from mining, but then, Broken Hill wasn't the only place doing that back then. It was one of those things not many people gave a single thought to, no one realising what future harm would come from the mining. So I don't think we can fault them entirely. Besides, back then the water was available because there weren't the cotton farmers and no need to empty the lakes to be flushing the Murray Mouth, and so on.

  8. Many, many years ago a pipeline was laid from Perth to Kalgoorlie (the goldfields) but now Perth is very low on water
    There has been talk of a pipeline being laid from the Ord River southwards but when you consider it is about 1,000 miles it would cost a fortune. Then they talked about it also going eastwards as well. I agree that Queensland has much more than it needs but the distances between places are so vast the the costs are prohibitive.
    I have no idea what the answer is but water is so important to life you'd think some politician worth his salt would come up with a workable plan if all the states would agree. Not that I can see that happening any time soon.

  9. Mimsie; yes, it would cost a fortune, but with enough pipelines eventually running through our country, the benefits of everyone having enough water will pay off. And this is something which should be thought of and begun now, instead of waiting until it can be afforded, because years from now, the cost will be even higher and less affordable. It's a bit like having children, if you wait until you think you can afford them, you'll never have any.


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