A Drinking Straw for the Sunburnt Country

By Emmanuel Narokobi

The Fly River, Papua New Guinea’s largest river, has a combined flow of 4.5 million litres per second, almost five times that of the river Nile. The Darling and Murray rivers, the two biggest in Australia, have a combined flow of water that is only 6% of the Fly River. (Samarasinghe)”

The idea of piping water to Australia is an interesting thought and as an article titled ‘Silly Science Drought Breaker‘ once stated ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures and never before has Australia been as desperate for water as it is today’.  A pdf from www.farmhand.org.au goes through a brief analysis of how Australia could possibly pipe water from PNG. You can read it here. However the farmhand pdf was aiming at piping water from the Fly River as opposed to recent reports about an Australian company called ‘Power & Might’ who are looking into piping water from the Highlands in PNG down to Queensland and other States.

I don’t have much information on this project as yet so I’ll be keeping an eye for developments on this. But as a starter will this require building a huge dam? And if so what will be the environmental impact of this? And I guess the mother of all questions, can this drinking straw be made profitable?

Beaver Falls 1 by Brad Morrissey. //  

(Picture of Beaver Falls by Brad Morrissey)

2 thoughts on “A Drinking Straw for the Sunburnt Country

  1. Gee Wizz Emmanuel,

    you bowl some curved balls at us. Of course some would look at the map and suggest the water would just dribble downhill through a pipe. The notion of piping fresh water from PNG to Oz is based on as much logic as building a fantasy city in a desert country where no real resources exist to support it.

    No one would logically do that would they? It really wouldn’t be viable.

    What’s that you say? Is already been done in Dubai?

    OK. So what about the gas pipe from Russia to Europe? When the Ruskies don’t like the news from where they send the gas to, they just turn it off for a while and let the people who have become dependent on the gas for heating feel the cold.

    What? That’s constantly done in Moresby with the water supply? Gosh! Who’d have thought of that?

    So would it just be a case of ‘coals to Newcastle’? The top end of Oz receives a lot of water in the ‘wet’ anyway. A previous Oz PM wanted to tap that water and turn it back inland to give the red centre a drink. Everyone turned down the scheme as too impractical and too expensive.

    The real problem is that the majority of Australia’s prime farming land is now under concrete and bitumen or split up into non food producing high rise buildings housing millions of people. The cities are the places where the first permanent settlers camped because they had good soils and water. 200 years later, agriculture has been pushed out to the marginal fringes where it used to be sometimes possible to farm. When my father was a child, it was possible for a family to make a living out of 50 acres. No one could do that now, given the changed conditions in what is the driest continent and after the ongoing 12 years of drought.

    The essence of the suggestion is that PNG could help Oz produce more food. While that may be laudable, the equation of more food is usually quickly balanced by more population. Just look at the emigration (both legal and illegal) coming into Oz at the moment. So where is the gain therefore? If Oz was really serious we would flood Lake Eyre using the water which would naturally drain from Spencer’s Gulf as the Lake is 400 ft below Sea Level. Of course that would really stir up the greenies as it might drown a few million salt shrimps that occasionally breed up when the Lake does get some water in it. Nevermind that the lake used to be full anyway, a few million years ago.

    So is it worth altering the conditions you are born into to suit yourself? Well that depends on how much one is prepared to spend and how desperate one is. Wait till we start receiving Lakatois full of people from up north rather than Indon fishing boats from the North West!

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