Tuesday, July 08, 2008

"The water must come from Tasmania"

Ken Davidson in today's Age.

Worth reading in full.

"Water from Tasmania can be piped to Melbourne and Melbourne's water from Gippsland can be diverted to the Murray via a short tunnel through the Great Divide and then into the Goulburn.

For reasons that cannot be rationally explained, the Victorian and federal governments have set their face against this solution for bogus reasons that cannot stand analysis.

For instance, the pipeline cost will be $12 billion (the people prepared to put their money up for the pipeline say the cost is less than $3 billion) and Tasmania is against the sale because it would undermine the islands water security (the water sold would be 0.8% of Hydro Tasmanias run-off into the ocean after the water has generated electricity).

For the past four weeks the Tasmanian Government has been negotiating with a consortium to contract up to 1000 gigalitres for the project.

If consummated, the contract would be the largest in Tasmanias history. For instance, if a price of $300 a megalitre for 1000 gigalitres is established, the return to the Government would be $300 million a year.

There is strong support for the project within the South Australian bureaucracy. The bureaucrats would far prefer to pay Tasmania and a consortium $1700 a megalitre rather than pay a foreign company $3300 a megalitre for desalinated water that will add the equivalent to the greenhouse gases in the state from 100,000 additional cars each year.

The same arithmetic applies to Victoria. Victoria proposes to mix the 150 gigalitres production from the Wonthaggi plant with existing supplies and increase water charges from $850 a megalitre to $2200 a megalitre. It is the same as for SA. The choice for Victoria is a no brainer."