Saturday, September 17, 2011

We lose again

How we're treated with contempt by our politicians was revealed yet again in an article in the Herald. The subject was water.

I've posted before about the appalling water mismanagement we get from our politicians. When it rains most of the water we collect is simply funneled out to sea, and we don't recycle water. Instead we get energy inefficient desalination plants.

But Heath Aston's article throws light on a much more sinister game involving the $1.5 billion sale of the Kurnell desal plant by our state government.

"Fifteen months ago workers at a dam 200 kilometres south of Sydney switched off a set of high-pressure pumps that have played a critical role in safeguarding Sydney's precarious water supply.

Transfers from Tallowa Dam, on the upper Shoalhaven River, had added more than a trillion litres to Warragamba Dam over the past decade before the taps were turned off.

The absence of that extra water, which fell from 152 billion litres in 2008 to zero this year, has been crucial to Warragamba remaining below 80 per cent full - the trigger point at which the Kurnell desalination plant must be shut down."

While water is being pumped out to sea the desal plant is running, using huge amounts of energy, and we have to pay extra for the desalinated stuff. All to keep Warragamba dam at less than 80% so that the state government can collect a billion and a half for the sale of the plant.

And you can bet there'll be clauses in the sale contract that give the buyers, probably foreign investors by the way, guaranteed income whether the plant runs or not. Just in case Warragamba by accident fills to over 80%.

The government gets a boost to the budget, the buyers will get a guaranteed income. The only losers will be us. Stuffed again by our elected representatives.

The full story is here.

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