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THE COUNTRYMAN

NEWS

 

An Independent Queensland Regional & Rural 

On-Line Publication

(Cairns... Far North Queensland)

 

Thank you for visiting my on-line office. 

I appreciate your interest in the issues that effect not only Queenslanders, but all Australians. 

Please let me hear from you about your views on the issues that matter to your Family, your Community and your State.  

Sincerely,

Selwyn Johnston

Editor

 

One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference

 

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AUSTRALIA'S GREAT ARTESIAN BASIN

 

 

INDEX

     Water Down Under - The Great Artesian Basin Story

The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is one of the largest underground water reservoirs in the world. It underlies approximately 22% of Australia, occupying more than 1.7 million square kilometres beneath the arid and semi-arid parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.  

Water emerges naturally from the Basin through cracks in the rock encasing the water, into springs, shallow water tables or into creeks and rivers creating a permanent water source even during dry periods. Most springs and leakages occur on the edges of the Basin where water is close to the surface.  

It was recognised by the early 1900s that control over GAB groundwater was inadequate and there was a reduction in water pressure and volume due to the increasing number of bores drilled that were allowed to flow uncontrolled into open drains and creeks for distribution to stock. However, even in well-maintained drains up to 95% of this water can be wasted through evaporation and seepage.  

Uncontrolled flow from bores and open earth bore drains in the GAB threatens the health of important groundwater-dependent ecosystems and continued access to artesian water by pastoralists.  

In addition, it has become difficult for new water users in or near the GAB to obtain access to groundwater resources.  

The waste of water is causing environmental damage through:  

reduced pressure in some naturally occurring artesian springs 

encouragement of the spread of pest plants and animals

land and water salinisation

The common-sense solution to recharge the entire Great Artesian Basin was obvious.

The Bradfield Scheme proposed in 1938 required large pipes, tunnels, pumps and dams. It involved diverting water from the upper reaches of the Tully, Herbert and Burdekin rivers. These Queensland rivers are fed by the monsoon, and flow east to the Coral Sea. It was proposed that the water would enter the Thomson River on the western side of the Great Dividing Range and eventually flow south west to Lake Eyre. An alternative plan was to divert water into the Flinders River.  

It is claimed that extra water and vegetation in the interior may then produce changes to the climate of Australia, however various studies have concluded that this is unlikely. This may increase the rainfall in areas of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Extra rainfall may drought-proof Eastern Queensland, and thereby improve river inflows to the Murray-Darling River system

It is claimed that a full Lake Eyre would moderate the air temperature in the region by the absorption of sunlight by the water instead of heat radiation from dry land into the air. No evidence to support the theory that an inland sea would increase rainfall has ever been produced, nor have any of the other claims been supported... until now!

In the book "The Great Boomerang" by Ion Idriess, it is reported that on two occasion when Lake Eyre filled up with floodwater, the eastern seaboard reported good harvests for the preceding seven (7) years.

 

RETURN TO: BRADFIELD SCHEME

 

 

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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870