10 Reasons why the Proposed Traveston Crossing Dam

is not an appropriate solution to S E Q’s water problems.



1 - What Water Supply Security! 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The proposed dam will not help in the current drought. If it does not rain in the

major catchments in 2008, Brisbane will be in serious trouble. The proposed

dam will not be constructed until 2012.


Will it be the saviour for water supply security for the future?

Current Demand for water is 400,000 megalitres per annum. 1 megalitre

(ML) is 1 million litres - about what an Olympic swimming pool holds


The Unconstrained Demand for water in the Year 2050 is 930,000

megalitres per annum


The Government claims that Traveston Stage 1 will provide 70,000

megalitres per year - which is less than 10 % of the unconstrained

demand in the year 2050


Traveston Stage 2 at 110,000 megalitres per annum is only a marginal





1 2 - How well would it have performed during the current drought? 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The Deputy Premier, Anna Bligh stated on 30 March that "if the dam has been

built two to three years ago it would be close to full now". Three years before then  is

April 2004.


In response to a Question on Notice regarding this specific statement at the

Federal Senate Inquiry on 18 April 2007, the Queensland Government

subsequently advised that “if Traveston had been built prior to 2003 … it would

have been at approximately 16% in April 2007”.


This response was based on the case of a dam being built in October 2002

and being full in April 2004, which is quite a head start on the case of a dam

being built in April 2004 which would have started empty. In fact, the dam

would be empty if it was constructed in April 2004.





1 2 3 - How Cost Effective Is It Really? 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

In a full page newspaper advertisement regarding the Traveston Dam on

Saturday 22 July, Premier Beattie said that cost effectiveness was one of the

factors which the Government based its decision on to proceed with the Traveston

Dam option. The State Government has consistently used the Dam

Options Report prepared by consulting firm GHD as their justification.


The GHD Dam Options report lists the Traveston Dam with a yield (annual

supply) of 215,000 megalitres, a storage volume of 1.1 million megalitres and

a cost of $1bn. The unit cost per megalitre of yield is therefore $4,695. This

puts it fourth on a list of potential dam sites around SEQ.


The truth is that Traveston Stage 1 has a yield of 70,000 megalitres, a storage

volume of 157,000 megalitres and a cost of $1.7bn. The cost per megalitre of

yield is therefore $24,000, making it the most expensive of any option.


An independent report by the University of Technology Sydney puts the cost

of water from the Traveston Dam at between $3.40 and $4.65 per kilolitre

(Stage 1 / Stage 2) and the cost of desalinating sea water at $2.06 to $2.55

per kilolitre (depending on the size of the plant). A kilolitre of water is 1,000

litres (about what a house uses in one day).




1 2 3 4 - The Alternatives by a leading Australian University 5 6 7 8 9 10


The University of Technology Sydney has undertaken a report of the water

supply needs in SEQ. The report found that the water supply needs could be

met by implementing the drought response measures that the Government is

currently working on (less the Traveston Dam) and extending the current

demand management initiatives with a particular emphasis on water smart

new development.


Professor White's report found that Traveston Dam is an expensive and unnecessary

component of Queensland’s water plans. The Review, based on

Qld Government supply and demand projections, analysed options based on

their cost for each kilolitre of water gained, their capacity to provide drought

relief and their ability to provide longer term water security. The analysis

proved that Traveston Dam is expensive, unhelpful for drought relief and not

needed for the long term water security of the region.


Needless to say, Professor White’s work has been criticised by the State Government

in an unprofessional, misleading and technically flawed response. Professor

White has challenged the State Government to undertake a proper review of both

documents by an independent third party.




1 2 3 4 5 - Is The Proposed Traveston Crosing Dam Shallow? 6 7 8 9 10

The proposed dam is very shallow; however the Queensland Government has

gone to extraordinary lengths to prove that it is not by comparing it with a few

selected dams in the north of the State where there is heavy tropical rainfall.

Anyway you look at it, Traveston is shallow because it is located on alluvial flood

plain, and it will be subject to substantial evaporation and seepage losses, major

problems with aquatic weed infestation, and would destroy forever some of the

best farming land in Queensland.




1 2 3 4 5 6 - What have They Been Doing for the Last 18 Years? 7 8 9 10


One of the first things that the Qld Labor party did when it won office in 1989 was

to scrap the Wolfdene Dam.


Somebody obviously decided that we needed more water 18 years ago. So what

happened after Wolfdene was scrapped?


Henry Palaszczuk, Premier Beattie's Water Minister at the time of the Traveston

decision said (in 1989) that "the cost of desalination of sea water is continuing to

decrease while the cost of acquiring land for dams and the cost of construction is

continuing to increase and that all possible dam sites for future urban water supplies

should be protected now by Government legislation. Anyone proposing to

construct a home in a possible dam area should be informed that the area is such

- a possible dam site" (more about desalination as a footnote to this list).


The Queensland State Government therefore set about purchasing the land for

four smaller dams around SEQ - Borumba and Amamoor Dams in the Mary

Catchment, Wyaralong in the Logan River Catchment and Glendower on the

Albert River. They spent $40m acquiring the land for those dams. How many

dams did they build - zero! They waited until a water supply crisis to announce a

completely new and previously unsupported dam at Traveston




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - What About the Track Record of the State Government in Dam Building  8 9 10

The State Government has held up the recently completed Paradise Dam on the

Burnett River as the model on which it will deal with environmental issues associated

with the proposed dam at Traveston Crossing. But how good is it?


In the late 1990's, the World Bank commissioned an extensive study into the

impact of dam construction world wide and established international guidelines

for the development of new dams if you had to build them.


Five years on from the World Commission on Dams, the World Wildlife Fund

published a report on how countries around the world had faired since 1999. Of

all the hundreds of dams constructed around the world since 1999, the report

picked out six dams for special mention as examples of what not to do.


One of those was the Paradise Dam, on the Burnett River in Queensland Australia.

Is this the level of environmental excellence which the Queensland Government

really aspires to? Worse than that, the Paradise Dam is now close to

empty. How can we trust the Government to get it right this time?




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 - Do Fish Ladders Really Work? 9 10

The way the Queensland Government proposes to protect endangered fish

species is through a fish ladder. The only problem is that the fish do not know

how to use them and while some fish might survive in a dam, they will not breed

or reproduce. The lungfish for example, needs shallow riffles and pools to breed

- these don't exist in a dam. But do the ladders actually work?

Neoceratodus forsteri - lungfish - a “living fossil”


In 2002, the Queensland Department of Primary Industries (DPI) conducted an

experiment at the Walla Weir on the Burnett River which has a fish ladder. They

electronically tagged 1,285 lungfish and monitored their passage through the

fishway 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for a whole year. During that time

only 7 fish (THE MAGNIFICENT 7) successfully navigated the fish ladder. The

comment by DPI at the time was that "the fishlock does not appear to be providing

optimal passage for fish".


On the ABC's 7.30 report on 22 June the Premier stated "It (the fish ladder at

Paradise Dam which is empty!) seems to be working effectively as far as I am





1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 - What About Stage 2 - is it on or off? 10

The CEO of Queensland Water Infrastructure, Mr Graham Newton, in his

referral notice to the Federal Government under the Federal Environment

Act said “At this stage it is not considered prudent to seek full approval for

Stage 2 as the current planning horizon does not envisage construction for

another 28 years. With rapid changes in technology, population

projections, climate change and assessment requirements, a different

course of action may be considered more appropriate at the time.”


However, in February 2007, the Premier of Queensland publicly

apologised for wrongly saying during the election Campaign that Stage 2

of Traveston Dam would not be needed if recycled water was given the go

ahead. The Premier has stated, “We have to build the dam as it is (ie.

Stage 2). I said what I said, but the reality is that the drought is worse and

I’m sorry but what I said then was wrong”.


So who is right? It would seem that referral of Stage 2 of the proposed

Dam to the Federal Environment Minister is now mandatory to comply with

the objects and intent of the Federal legislation.




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 - What About the Water Grid. Is it a Good Idea?

The water which is currently available on the Sunshine Coast is

needed for future planned growth on the Sunshine Coast. Taking

water from this area to send to Brisbane is a short-term fix at best.


The SEQ water grid simply delays the inevitable so that we all run out

of water together. Moving water around in a circle does not create

one drop of new water - but it does use vast quantities of power.


The water grid is dinosaur technology - moving electricity around a

grid makes sense because it does not weigh anything. Water is very

heavy and the cost in moving it large distances around SEQ is



For example, if 25% of the current demand for water is moved around

the grid, that equates to 100,000 ML (100 million tons). This will

consume vast quantities of power – but it does not produce one drop

of extra water.