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THE COUNTRYMAN

NEWS

 

Selwyn Johnston

INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES'

ADVOCATE

(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

 

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

 

.

SUMMARY

Assessment and Feasibility

THE REVISED

BRADFIELD SCHEME

As proposed by the
Bradfield Study Consortium Report - 1984 

INDEX

 

Preface and History, Bradfield Study Consortium Report (BSCR), 1984

Summary of Assessment and Feasibility of Revised Bradfield Scheme 1989

Summary - Total Value of Annual Production

Summary - Capital Cost vs. Value of Production

Summary - Inclusion of Upper Tully in Scheme

Full Comparison of all Stages

Volume of Water Available

Irrigable Land - Cotton

Value of Production - Cotton

Value of Production - Timber/Paper pulp

Value of Production - Cattle

Value of Production - Drought/Flood proofing

Flood Mitigation - Cane Losses

Capital Cost

Assessment of Future Potential

Operating Costs and Economic Offsets

Populations - Major Pacific Countries

 

.

THE BRADFIELD STUDY

CONSORTIUM REPORT - 1984

This report was commissioned by the Premier's Department of the Queensland government, and undertaken by four of Australia's leading water engineering firms - Gutteridge Haskins & Davey, McIntyre & Associates, Munro & Johnson, and Cameron McNamara.

This report was never released, The Scheme proposed by the BSCR was allocated only a very limited percentage of the water resources of the area under study (e.g., the Tully and nearly half the Upper Burdekin were not permitted to be allocated to the scheme).

The study's terms of reference and resources were limited (e.g. the preferred scheme, Route 8 was not costed in the Report).

This study stated that 905,000 megalitres of water would be made available to Channels for delivering to the farm gate. This was sufficient to irrigate 150,000 ha.

The BSCR study included 0NLY the waters of the Upper Herbert and Upper Burdekin Rivers (i.e. not the Upper Tully or Upper Johnstone)

The study costed the Scheme at $1,950 million.

The study provided raw engineering figures of construction costs and water yield only. These of themselves did not recommend the Scheme. The study stated the annual operating costs at $430/ha compared unfavourably with $122/ha at Burdekin and similarly with capital cost per ha - $18,800, compared with $6,600 at Burdekin. The BSC report was prepared from engineering parameters only with restricted and narrow terms of reference.

Integral considerations of a non-engineering nature were not factored into the BSC report. The raw engineering figures needed to be inserted into an assessment model with a more adequate framework and terms of reference.

Cabinet consequently directed the Department of Northern Development to carry out a cost benefit assessment for consideration.

A Summary of Assessment and Feasibility (cost benefit analysis) was prepared by the Dept of Northern Development. It was completed just prior to the fall of the Government in 1989. So neither it nor the BSC Report was released. What follows is this Summary Report prepared by the office of Northern Development,

Return: INDEX

 

SUMMARY OF ASSESSMENT
AND FEASIBILITY OF

THE REVISED BRADFIELD SCHEME

This BSC Report was never released. Whilst it was of an exploratory nature, it was undertaken to provide some hard figures.

The Fraser Government had, prior to this, allocated $5 million for a full feasibility study; The Government fell before it was undertaken. The Queensland Government then allocated $0.5 million for an abbreviated study.

This study, it must be emphasized as stated above, Was never to be a comprehensive report. It did not even cost out its preferred route, Route 8. The money allocation was simply for an overview costing.

It must be emphasized that the Summary Assessment and Feasibility does not include five factors:

  1. One pumping station should be eliminated by Route 8 (Route 8 is the post script preferred route) This should markedly reduce pumping costs.
  2. Night Pumping and HydroElectric contribution - will further reduce operating costs from the scheme. More detailed work would need to be undertaken to confirm these assertions.
  3. Wages would comprise an estimated 50% of the cost of construction. The cost of each job created by the project is offset by the removal of one person from unemployment benefits. This 'dole reduction' effect should lower the "real" cost of construction by over 25%.
  4. Figures for drought losses are grossly inadequate because of difficulties in producing an objective quantifiable assessment.
  5. Figures for sheep production stabilization and increases are again inadequate, once again because of difficulties in producing an objectively quantifiable assessment.

Return: INDEX

 

SUMMARY

TOTAL VALUE of ANNUAL PRODUCTION
From

THE REVISED BRADFIELD SCHEME

As Per BSCR 1984

COTTON $507,000,000
WOODCHIP $105,000,000
CATTLE PRODUCTION INCREASE $240,000,000
DROUGHT AND FLOOD MITIGATION BENEFIT $78,000,000
   
TOTAL $930,000,000

Return: INDEX

 

SUMMARY

NETT CAPITAL COST $ 2.37 billion
GROSS VALUE OF PRODUCTION (per annum) $0.93 billion

Return: INDEX

 

SUMMARY

If the Upper Tully is included in the Scheme and a paper pulp mill converts wood chip to the value added product paper…

NET CAPITAL COST $2.49 billion
GROSS VALUE OF PRODUCTION $2.02 billion

Return: INDEX

 

FULL COMPARISON

  Capital Cost Gross Value Production p/a Average Yield (mgltrs)
STAGE 1
Diversion of Upper Burdekin and Upper Herbert
$2.37b $0.93b 725,000
STAGE 2
Diversion of Upper Tully
$0.12b $0.59b 506,000
STAGE 3
Diversion of Upper Johnstone (This production figure a assumes no downstream processing of the woodchip. Value adding to paper pulp would add another
$0.55b






$0.53b






$0.50b
460,000







TOTALS

$3.04b

$2.55b

1,691,00

This figure for Stage 3 of $2.05 billion is in line with California's agricultural production.

California's Central Valley produces around $12 billion of agricultural production from 2 million hectares of irrigated land.

The Revised Bradfield Scheme would irrigate around 0.3 million hectares and should yield $1.8 billion of agricultural produce.

Return: INDEX

 

VOLUME OF WATER AVAILABLE

 

Available Water (mgl)

Bradfield Study Consortium Report (BSCR) 1984 States that volume of water available to the Downs on the southwest of Hughenden  BSCR states (pp. 3-18) "more detailed investigations could provide a non-assured water supply 15% greater whilst still meeting QWRC-criteria". The BSCR could not accurately state what volume of water was available, but knew it was between 725,000 and 834,000 mgl. 725,000
The BSCR chose the bottom end of speculative range. This report chooses the upper end of 109,000+ speculative range (i.e. adds 15%).  In arriving at this 834,000 mgl the BSCR had deducted 187,000 mgl for "future urban mining and power generation requirements". These requirements can be supplied from other sources - Burdekin Falls, Middle Burdekin and Cape River. The BSCR stated that the allocation of these Waters "are policy matters for decision by Government...the probable demands for thermal power stations, mining, urban, industrial needs are relatively small", BSCR (pps 2-47). 109,000+
834,000
The decision should be to allocate the resources where they will be most economically effective (i.e. to Bradfield). Thus, allocating 20,000 mgl for a future power station on the Pentland coal seam, 167,000 mgl remains for allocation to Bradfield. 167,000+
1,001,000
200,000 mgl should be allocated for timber farming irrigation (e.g. of commercially planted eucalypt forest for paper pulp) east of the Great Divide. 200,000-
801,000
A 3O% deduction needs to be made for losses in irrigation channels "en route" to the farm gate (as per BSCR)
Revised volume of water available at farm gate on Downs southwest of Hughenden
240,000-

561,000

Water for cotton east of Great Divide 180,000
Water for woodchip timber farms 200,000
Water lost in transmission between main diversionary canal and farm gate 240,000
Water for cotton west of Great Divide 561,000
Total Annual Volume of Water Available               mgl

1,181,000

Return: INDEX

 

IRRIGATION AREA FOR COTTON

Irrigable area for cotton facilitated by 561,000 mgl (@ 7.0 mgl.per ha) would be 80,000 ha
Plus area for cotton east of Great Divide since 180,000 ml per ha is allocated for this purpose (only 6 ml per ha needed for cotton east of Great Divide).
Irrigable area @ 6 ml per ha would be
 

30,000 ha

AREA THAT CAN BE IRRIGATED 110,000 ha

Return: INDEX

 

VALUE OF PRODUCTION

VALUE OF COTTON PRODUCTION

@ 6 bales per hectare @ $550 per bale i.e. @ 225 kg/bale and 247c/kg (the price at 20/10/89)
Production is


$3,300 per/ha
@ 0.9t per hectare for cotton seed meal @ $280/t (price at Hughenden)
Production is
Total Production is
 

$250 ha
$3,550 per/ha

Since there are 110,000 hectares or irrigable land
TOTAL VALUE OF PRODUCTION


$390,000,000

(Residual stubble is edible for cattle fattening, see cattle production)

VOLUMETRIC ALLOCATION

If water is allocated on the basis of volumetric allocation and not non-assured yield allocation then it is reasonable to assume that in one out of every three years, on average, double the "non assured yield" would be available (a fairly complex programme would have to be prepared to accurately quantify this figure).

This would facilitate an increase in average annual production of 30% adding $117,000,000
GROSS VALUE OF COTTON PRODUCTION $507,000,000

Return: INDEX

 

FOREST TIMBER PAPER PULP (Fodder, Activated Carbon)

* 200,000 mgl is allocated for irrigation of eucalypt forest for woodchip.

* 5 mgl per hectare is required to produce 35t%ha/yr.

* Woodchip debarked green at port is worth $75/t (or $140/t bone dry)
   for 40,000 ha of forest.

VALUE OF PRODUCTION OF CULTIVATED FOREST TIMBER AS WOODCHIP

$105,000,000

The area proposed for timber production is 40,000 ha of what is locally known as the "desert country", red massive soils of poor quality southwest of Pentland. Valuable returns can be achieved on this area in preference to using water on western downs for cotton since here it provides:

Diversification: Economy of area depends upon world price of cattle, sheep, cotton, paper pulp, not just the "ccs" - cotton, cattle, sheep.

Utilizing Water before the cost of pumping over the range has to be met. Cost per unit of production is less than if used on the downs for cotton.

Utilizing Water before the major losses from the extremely hot dry conditions - the high evaporation rates of the Western Downs and west of the Great Divide are sustained as is the great length of channel losses 300 km @ evaporative rates of 2,500mm.

Paper Pulp Plant can be facilitated by this volume of production with a processed product - paper pulp, worth some $1 billion per annum to the Australian economy.

BY-PRODUCTS

A significant extra as a source of product income is the by-products, particularly the production of activated carbon and other carbon products. These are too indefinite, however, to quantify.

Return: INDEX

 

INCREASED & STABILISED CATTLE PRODUCTION

Stations contingent to the irrigation channels can take 400 mgl each to permanently irrigate 40 ha of pasture for cattle fattening (or lamb weaning) or drought feeding of breeding stock during a prolonged dry. (Bullocks would be sent to agistment to feed lots during a prolonged dry).

Artesian bores can be closed off along irrigation routes, considerably contributing to the conservation of this still dwindling resource.

Pastoralists can secure their stock watering from Bradfield channels.

Mid west towns can secure vastly improved drinking water from Bradfield channels.

Both these measures will substantially reduce the pressure on the artesian aquifer. Some of this water conserved by these measures can be reallocated for similar cattle fattening and drought mitigation projects on stations off the Bradfield channels. Thus the average turn-off age of cattle - five years old - can be reduced to 2 years only and turn-off ratios would consequently increase from 1:7 to 1:3-I/2. The cattle population of the mid-west region and contingent areas is 1.4m per head.

Annual cattle turn-off will therefore increase from 200,000 to 400,000 per head @ value added (i.e. processed price) of $1,220 per head.

THE INCREASE IN THE VALUE OF CATTLE PRODUCTION WOULD BE


$240 million pa

Return: INDEX

 

DROUGHT PROOFING & FLOOD MITIGATION

CATTLE DROUGHT LOSSES

Increased slaughtering of females during the drought years (i.e.1986 -1988) were 97,000 head. The 97,000 head @ 60% calving rates represents and annual production loss of 60,000 head @ $1,220 per head (processed cost).

CATTLE DROUGHT LOSSES AN ESTIMATED

$72,000,000 pa.

SHEEP DROUGHT LOSSES

Sheep losses are far harder to quantify. Lambings are nearly 20%o lower than in the rest of the State, but income from sheep is far less than from cattle. Losses of 5% from annual woolclip of $60m would seem to be a not unreasonable figure .

SHEEP DROUGHT LOSSES AN ESTIMATED

$3,000,000 pa.

DROUGHT ASSISTANCE

Drought grants and subsidies saved cannot be quantified because there are a plethora of assistance. It is considered that a figure of $1 million would not be excessive -

DROUGHT ASSISTANCE AN ESTIMATED

$1,000,000 pa.

TOTAL VALUE OF DROUGHT PROOFING

$76,000,000 pa.

Return: INDEX

 

FLOOD MITIGATION CANE LOSSES

Loss of sugar production through flooding (and to a small degree, waterlogging) and the cost of property loss in general in the Lower Herbert basin is difficult to quantify. The Cameron McNamara Flood Management Study 1980 states the losses in a 1-in-25 year flood at $8,877,000 -an average loss of $36O,000/year. However, if two 1-in-50 year floods and one 1-in-100 year flood damage is added, this should double this figure. CPI increase allowed for over9 years would double this figure, giving an annual loss of around $1 million pa. A similar figure for the Tully would produce annual losses of over $2m.More importantly, a simultaneous flooding in the upper and lower Herbert, which has not occurred since European Settlement (but is part of Aboriginal legend of the area), would result in substantial loss of life and massive property loss

FLOOD MITIGATION and CANE LOSSES AN ESTIMATED

  

 

 

 

 

$2,000,000 pa.

TOTAL DROUGHT PROOFING & FLOOD MITIGATION SAVINGS

$78,000,000 pa.

Return: INDEX

 

FLOOD DANGER TO HERBERT RIVER VALLEY

Simultaneous flooding in the upper and lower Herbert River catchment area would place hundreds of lives in danger.

Of the five major Ingham floods this century, none have resulted from this simultaneous flooding of the upper and lower catchments.

Aboriginal legend in the Ingham area states "water from mountain to mountain". So whilst a simultaneous flood situation has not occurred in European Australian history, it has occurred in pre-European Australian history.

Kooragwyn Dam, the proposed Central Dam on the Herbert River, is sited on the upper Herbert River, just above where the river goes over the Herbert River Falls and tumbles down onto the coastal plain.

Kooragwyn Dam in proper operating mode should be kept empty.

It's storage capacity will probably exceed 2.8m mgl (the maximum flood flow ever was 3.3m mgl - it must be noted that that was for a 12 month period). Clearly, the Bradfield proposals with an empty operating mode at Kooragwyn can provide almost a complete protection for Ingham and the Herbert River Valley.

Return: INDEX

 

CAPITAL COST OF

THE

REVISED BRADFIELD SCHEME

  Billions ($) Billions ($)
BSCR states:
total costs of the project
Cost of delivery channels to the farm gate
BSCR Total Cost therefore
$1.75
$0.25




$1.95
However, these are 1984 costing. No earthwork price index exists. Cement has increased by some 33-1/3% (162.6 to 217) using 33-1/3% as the Cost Price Index movement - increase in cost of scheme (of 33-1/3) adds $0.65 billion to project costs.  

 

 

$0.65

 
TOTAL COST OF SCHEME AT 1989 PRICES   $2.60 billion

LESS

Net proceeds of land resumption and resale. Unlike previous irrigation schemes (all undertaken in marginal farming areas) this scheme services a narrow band along the canals at "grazing land" prices of $50/ha and resells the land at irrigation farm prices of $1,625/ha.    
There is 110,000 ha of irrigation farmland (i.e. land provided with a water allocation of 7 mgl/ha) that will be resumed and resold. The gross surplus from the resale of this land would be $1,575/ha ($1,625 - $50)


$0.173-
 
A further 110,000 ha can be resumed and resold for opportunity farming (whenever dams are at full supply level or near full supply level and/or for cattle and sheep grazing @ $400 per ha).


$0.044-
 
The 40,000 ha reserved (for commercial paper pulping) @ $300/ha will provide a further
TOTAL REDUCTIONS
 

$0.012-
$0.229

 
NET CAPITAL COST OF SCHEME   $2.371 billion

Return: INDEX

 

ASSESSMENT OF FUTURE POTENTIAL

TULLY (KOOLMOON/NITCHAGA) FLINDERS, THOMPSON CAPE & UPPER JOHNSTONE RIVERS

The BSCR terms of reference dealt with the Herbert and Burdekin Rivers only. However, water from the Tully (Koolmoon/Nitchaga Creeks), Flinders, Thompson and Cape Rivers must be considered.

In the last 30 years over 500,000 mgl was available every single year from these streams, with the exception of only one-year in which the yield was 350,000 mgl.

The huge flood flow in the Flinders, Cape and Thompson Rivers is so brief and infrequent as to be unable to sustain any annual farming or irrigation ventures. Because the terrain of the mid-west and central-west is so flat there are no dam sites or even weir sites. These shallow ponded areas being reduced by evaporation rates of over 2 metres/pa. would be economically non-viable. Statistically, in two out of every 10 years there would be negligible production.

However, if Bradfield water could be utilised to replenish a series of small dams, weirs and off stream storage along the Flinders and Thompson Rivers, it seems quite feasible that an extra 20,000 ha of cotton could be sown on both rivers. This benefit would be enhanced through stabilised and increased production of wool and beef - extended along the middle Flinders and middle Thompson Rivers. If the Betts Gorge Creek project is added, the Bradfield proposals extend by a further 50,000 ha.

The addition of the Upper Tully (including Koolmoon, Carpenter, Carron, Unnamed and Nitchaga Creeks) would add 506,000 mgl per year, facilitating a 70% increase in production from the proposals as put forward in the BSCR. (See figures following).

The upper Johnstone River can also be used. Its contribution would be significant (nearly another 70%).

Water available but not included in the B.S.C. Report

 

 

Water Volume (mgl)

THOMPSON RIVER (at Stonehenge) Minimum annual discharge recorded 1968-9
Average annual discharge
40,000  

3,825,000

FLINDERS RIVER (below Richmond)
Minimum annual discharge recorded 1977-8
Minimum annual discharge (excluding 77-8)
Average annual discharge

NIL
186,000



791,000
CAPE RIVER (at Pentland)
Minimum annual discharge recorded 1977-8
Average annual discharge

1,613


835,000
TULLY (Nitchaga) RIVER (at Koombooloomba)
Minimum annual discharge recorded 1959-60
Average annual discharge - Tully
Average annual discharge - Nitchaga
260,000  

352,000
51,000

If Koolmoon and Nitchaga basin discharge is added
Minimum annual discharge (estimate)
Average annual discharge - Koolmoon
40,000

56,000
TOTAL ANNUAL AVERAGE DISCHARGE   5,208,000

NOTE: a)`UPPER JOHNSTONE RIVER NOT INCLUDED - b)PARTS OF UPPER TULLY NOT INCLUDED

Return: INDEX

 

OPERATING COSTS AND ECONOMIC OFFSETS

ELECTRICITY LOSS $21m pa

Some $21m of power is generated by the HydroElectric power station "Kareeya" on the Tully River. This loss of production can be offset by a low head; high volume HydroElectric power station or stations built on the Bradfield storages.

Some 300m of head and 650 mgl of water are available at the Tully River, whilst l00m of head and 1.5 mgl are available on the upper Burdekin.

OPERATING COSTS OF SCHEME - $41 million pa

More importantly, by siting the next thermal station on the commercially non-viable coal reserve of the remote Galilee Basin (i.e. Pentland) there can be a very sizeable cost saving to the electricity consumers of Queensland. Since the coal has no alternative market, it can be taken on a cost plus basis at minimal prices, and since the station is sited at the coalmine, unlike other power stations, it has no rail freight on coal component (a cost saving of around 20% per unit).

Effectively, no base load power station exists in North Queensland. All FNQ electricity requirements are generated in Central Queensland at a cost of around 2c/kwt.hr. Around 20% of the electricity generated in Central Queensland's power stations are lost in transmission to FNQ.

These two factors should provide a cost saving of nearly 40% on most of the electricity generated to FNQ.

The Galilee Basin, it must be noted, cannot be opened up for electricity production unless there is some source of water to run the turbines. Some 20,000 mgl has been set aside for a 1,000MW power station at Pentland.

One of the most important issues is the annual operating cost of $430/ha. No details are given of how this cost was comprised.

Upon a "totality costing' basis if the outlay by the Nation is $3.04 billion and the annual income produced by this project for the Nation is $2.55 million then this is the only relevant valid costing method.

However, real operating costs for example pumping and maintenance costs most be accounted for.

Whilst maintenance costs can be covered by a moderate per megalitre charge of $10/mgltr charge for a Stage 3 development would provide $16.9 million pa.

Requiring farmers to pay interest and redemption on the cost of construction of the project would create a prohibitive charge and render the farmer's non-viable.

The cost of pumping should be nil since delivery to all farms is by gravity feed and because the Great West Aqueduct follows the water divides.

The Great Western Aqueduct starts at the delivery point of the water from the Burdekin about 40 - 50 klms approx. due south of Hughenden (i.e. 6 klms WSW of Peronne Homestead Elevation at 1075').

Since Route 7B discharges into Torrens Creek, 8 klms above Ulva H/S and the Elevation at this point is 1070', and since the water is delivered from Mt Foxton Dam where full supply level is 1213' gring a fall of 143' over a distance of 415 klms - a fall of 4.2"/krn delivers water at a pumping cost of only $0.7 million pa.

Route 8 is approximately 600 klms long at 4.2ins (10cms) fall/km delivery would require a head of 600 x 4.2 - 210 feet. Since start point of Great Western Aqueduct is at Elevation 1075' and since the full supply level at Hells Gate Dam is Elevation 1279', pumping cost should be about the same as in Route 7B - under $1 million pa.

ROUTE 8

Reference Point Start Point Elevation Lowest Possible
       
Perronne Stn H/S (6 klms WSW) 1075 (960)
Homeleigh Stn H/S (6.5 klms W) 1090 (990)
Webbs Lake (11 klms SW) 1120 (1025)
Hells Gate Dam (FSL) 1279 (1120)

On the Upper Burdekin River, whilst the full supply level at Hells Gates is 1279, even the minimum delivery level point just on top of the banks of the river would still be 1115'.

The fall is the same as in Route 7B in the B.S.C.R. and since the pumping costs in Route 7B are $0.7 million pa. the pumping costs for Route 8 would also be around $0.7 million pa.

This again would be an approach similar to that used in California - water charges in California (where water is brought hundreds of kilometres) is charged out to the farmers at only $3.90/mgltr.

Return: INDEX

 

POPULATION

MAJOR PACIFIC COUNTRIES
Millions, Actual and Projected

 

Projected
Population
Growth (% pa.)

1990
Actual
(million)

2009
Projected
(million)

Australia 1.14 17.06 21.16
New Zealand 0.71 3.36 3.84
Malaysia 1.98 17.76 25.78
Singapore 0.43 3.00 3.26
Canada 0.91 26.60 31.59
Chile 1.17 13.17 16.42
China 1.22 1,122.40 1,412.41
Colombia 1.41 32.99 43.04
Indonesia 1.43 179.30 234.61
Japan 0.26 123.54 129.78
Mexico 1.61 86.15 116.78
Peru 1.77 21.55 30.09
Philippines 1.64 61.48 83.82
South Korea 0.79 42.87 49.78
Taiwan 0.79 20.35 23.66
Thailand 1.29 56.08 71.55
USA 0.78 249.92 289.67
Vietnam 1.73 67.60 93.66
TOTAL Above 1.18 2,145.19 2,680.89

535.7 million extra people by Year 2009

SOURCES:

International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1992, IMF
Industry of Free China, Key Statistics, NZ. Department of Statistics
Asia Yearbook, 1992, ABS Cat. No. 3101.0
World Population Projections, 1992-93 Edition, World Bank

COMPILED AT REQUEST BY THE STATISTICS GROUP OF THE PARLIAMENTARY RESEARCH SERVICE

 

Return to: INDEX

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