Pipeline 'would steal water'
TRAVESTON dam protesters have turned their sights on the $450 million second stage water grid pipeline, saying it would only steal water from the Mary River from under federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett's nose.
The Save the Mary Group and Greater Mary Association want Mr Garrett's department to kill off the pipeline, saying it is over-designed and would damage the fragile Mary River environment.
Greater Mary Association president Darryl Stewart said yesterday water from the Mary River was already over-allocated.
He said the amount already being sucked from the system meant the river had, before Christmas, stopped flowing below the barrage at Tiaro, impacting on the Great Sandy Strait recreational and commercial fishing stocks.
Sunshine Coast mayor Bob Abbot has backed calls for the second stage of the pipeline to be dumped but said he supported raising of the Borumba Dam wall by 25 metres to guarantee future water supply to Noosa and Mary Valley towns.
Cr Abbot said it was nonsensical to lay 1200mm pipes to take water that flowed from the Mary through 600 mm pipes to council's Lake Macdonald treatment plant. He said the plant lacked the capacity to fill the pipeline anyway.
The Northern Pipeline Alliance, which has been contracted to build the pipeline, has already begun stockpiling pipes along the proposed route from Eudlo to Lake Macdonald ahead of announcement by the federal government of a decision on the project on February 12.
Save the Mary River Coordinating Group spokeswoman Glenda Pickersgill said the proposed pipeline was “quite simply” a waste of money.
Ms Pickersgill said Mr Garrett had already identified that the river needed further protection.
“We need to send a clear message that more inter-basin transfer from the Mary catchment is not acceptable to our community or the health of our Mary River,'' she said.
Mr Stewart said the northern pipeline stages one and two planned to access up to 24,000 megalitres a year from the Mary based on current water allocations.
“If the full 24,000 megalitres were used it would mean an unprecedented level of extraction from the Mary River,'' he said.
“Given what we know about the vulnerability of the river to low flows, this is a serious concern which has not been adequately addressed by the proponent, LinkWater Projects.”