04 Nov 2008 @ 2:12 PM 

The EES process & terms dictated by ‘the Brumby cartel’ for the Inquiry is the probably the most manipulated time frame for an State imposed project that has occurred in Vic.

Such is the repeated observations made by Watershed members to the EES Panel and in letters to Ombudsmen and parliamentarians.

It is acknowledged by all legal minds as without precedence: “Very strange, very unusual” said one Barrister when he briefed the newly formed Watershed Victoria group in late September 2008.

Unlike comparable proposals like the proposed (and failed) Nowingi Toxic Waste Facility, the people of South Gippsland and Eastern Melbourne and Mornington Penninsula directly affected by the cobbled together proposal, were given little time and little of no access to resources to prepare their cases on the huge effects on housing, farming, tourism, marine ecology, wetland ecology, migrating whales, and climate change.

Nevertheless the State pushed on with the EES process like a steam train on meth-amphetamines and using the same technology as the steam train era!!

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Posted By: Dominic Gilligan
Last Edit: 04 Nov 2008 @ 02 12 PM

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Daily updates from DANNY DESAL broadcasting from the INQUIRY in Pakenham

Well today was Bass Coast Shires turn to tell the Inquiry what it thought of the whole process and IF this thing goes ahead then it must be done as worlds best practice and not the “worlds worst practice” as Allan Bawden advised the Inquiry that the community consultation and engagement had been. He told them - and Danny concurs - that if the Council had conducted an engagement plan the way the State Government had then they “would have been lynched”!!!  It was good to see the Mayor Neville Goodwin there but again didn’t see any other Councillors! What’s going on here????  Sorry now have to correct that as Veronica Dowman did arrive around 11am and stayed for most of the afternoon.

Danny losing sense of humour with this mob so bring on the election although the candidates look a bit thin on the ground!

The Council staff - Allan , Hannah Duncan-Jones and Steve Piasente - did a great job in highlighting what has worked badly in this process and what would have to happen in the future if this thing goes ahead. Allan made it clear at the outset that they did not support the building of the plant and that it was their view that it was only being built due to the failures of the Government to properly assess all water options available to Melbourne and that it represented policy on the run. they also repeated the message through the day that the engagement with the community had been terrible and hence there was a high degree of mistrust and that it was imperative that the Inquiry make strong recommendations of what needs to be done if it goes ahead.

They went through what happens in the Bass Coast Shire advising the demographics etc and put up many great pictures of the landscape that everyone in the community wants to protect and to also explain why tourism is a growing industry in this area. They used the pilot plant EMP as the example of just how there is a lack of accountability and responsibility for monitoring and controlling what is happening on the ground and they want to get it right before it starts rather than try to fix it up afterwards. Now whilst Danny doesn’t want to really talk about what should be done IF construction starts on this awful thing but Danny has reluctantly convinced himself that the Council has to put forward all these restrictions and conditions to the Inquiry so they can make sure they are incorporated into what goes to the Minister and then through to the contractor. Without this step who knows what would happen??

Hannah Duncan-Jones gave a great presentation on all the planning issues and why they are important to the Shire and the community and that the EES doesn’t address or reflect them including the Coastal Spaces Strategy or even the principals of the planning schemes and the impact of this plant is heaviest on the Bass Coast Shire with the majority of the benefits of it going to Melbourne. Rob Milner a consultant for the Council tried to further enlighten the Inquiry on the proper use of planning frameworks but after questioning by the Government barrister, everyone was left with no confusion that the Environment & Planning Act allows the Minister for Planning to effectively use his discretion to do what he thinks best!  Another consultant David Dreardon, another consultant for the council talked through the landscaping assessments and

that the report inadequately deals with recreational aspects & values and no indication of the methodology applied so unsure when it was conducted and hence means to address it have been left out. He said the Kilcunda rail trail has been left undone, inadequate view assessment were done and the report makes no assessment of the importance of the recreational values and there was no info on number of people that use it so can’t identify how many it affects.

Steve Piasente went on to talk them through the big issues of the traffic, waste and power route impacts on the Shire and the roads that must be upgraded and fixed before anything starts. The list was long, trust me and they made it clear also that the gas fired power plant on the site was totally opposed by the Council. The Inquiry spent some time understanding the access roads etc into the site from all angles and what is bitumen and what is dirt etc so hopefully they will understand and we believe they were doing some touring after the hearings.

All the photo’s of the terrible roads in this area had Danny worrying about how we are going to cope with all that traffic on our little and falling apart roads!

Probably much more to tell about the day but might be good to get the presentations and put them up on the site so you can see them. Danny will work on that on Friday.

Only 4 days to go and Danny, whilst loving every minute of this excruciating process is looking forward to it being over !!!

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Posted By: Danny Desal
Last Edit: 04 Nov 2008 @ 09 21 AM

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Daily updates from DANNY DESAL broadcasting from the INQUIRY in Pakenham

Before Danny starts on the exciting proceedings of today he thought he might just say

DON’T FORGET WATERSHED DAY TOMORROW - WEDNESDAY 29/OCTOBER

Danny getting lonely!

The first witness was Hansen Partnerships who said that the landscape and visual impacts have not been suitably resolved and the EES doesn’t value the impact highly enough particularly if there is already Significant Landscape Overlays (SLO) in place and the ERM report is unbalanced and is biased towards development. Well Danny nearly fell over, surely the highly paid consultants by the Government wouldn’t favour their clients!!!! Never heard of such thing! The barrister type questioning of the witnesses is quite intriguing with the questions around the use of words to create impressions. Isn’t that what everyone is doing???

But wait, the light bulb has just gone on over Danny’s head - Cardinia Shire is pushing for the gas plant co-located on the site whereas the PGOG is pushing for more analysis to be completed and to underground from the grid. The PGOG understands that a gas plant on-site will still likely need to be connected to the grid and hence the issue of power lines comes up again but Cardinia just want it out of their Shire and seem to think that all their problems will be solved by the gas plant on-site. Danny is getting a little tired of using this expression but can’t find anything better - HOW NIMBY CAN YOU GET! But the proponent didn’t let them get away with it and emphatically hit the point that it would be highly likely that there would also be a power connection from the gas power plant back into the grid!

Same problem for Cardinia, different date!

You may or may not agree with me but this is a very very shortsighted and insular view. It’s basically saying we don’t care about the environment and other people in other shires we just want to look after ourselves. Now if anyone reading this is a resident of Cardinia Shire then Danny thinks you should be telling your Council that this is a really shallow and selfish perspective. Danny doesn’t want to upset people but, aren’t we all in this together?? Don’t we all care about the overall environmental impact of this or just the part that affects us directly?

The next expert talked about planning principles and the Planning & Environment Act and how it should relate to the terms of this Inquiry even though it has been convened under the Environment Effects Act. It’s all a bit legalistic but some quite valid points were raised about just how rigorous (or lack thereof) the assessments have been in this regard JUST as they relate to the area covered by the Cardinia Shire. But he did admit that the decision to build the desal plant will leave a lasting legacy and that when it comes to the delivery of water, “at what cost?” (Danny thinks he has heard that expression before!!!)

Danny also thinks that when someone says you don’t need good legal representation in the EES process - IGNORE THEM! This is as much a legal battle and use of language to ensure the panel members understand what they have been instructed to do by the Government and its not their role to evaluate Goverment policy, in this case, water policy. The QC’s for the Government certainly grilled the expert witnesses put up by Cardinia and will no doubt do the same for Watersheds expert and others. Let me just say that Chris Townsend SC put their expert under considerable vigorous questioning and when looking at the Inquiry members you have to wonder what impact it has. Danny not sure if its positive or not but I did get the real impression from Ms Mitchell’s comments that they are looking at a much broader set of issues and the proponent should not try to confine them.

Cardinia then went on to put forward a cost comparison of the various power options which Danny doesn’t have the expertise to go into any detail on. Doesn’t matter really as ultimately it will come down to what is the most acceptable bid put in and we won’t see it anyway as no doubt it will be “commercial in confidence”!!! I guess their real push is to get the Inquiry to recommend that much more work needs to be done to work through the power options and if that delays the project well Danny might get happier with them.

Guess what - Cardinia told everyone they won’t be in attendance until the closing day! What a surprise!!!!

That’s all folks and look forward to a positive day on Watersheds day on Wednesday.

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Posted By: Danny Desal
Last Edit: 29 Oct 2008 @ 12 50 PM

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 28 Oct 2008 @ 1:42 AM 

Sorry for the delay folks in getting this update to you as Danny was very weary by the end of the week and a bit tired and emotional as there were many heartfelt passionate pleas from normal folk like us. It took a couple of days to return to sanity so apologies for the delay. You may already know that the Chair/Kathy Mitchell wasn’t able to make it to the Friday session so it was chaired by Nick Wimbush.

There were 14 presentations for the day including Environment Victoria / VFF/Cardinia Ratepayes and Residents Assoc/National Trust/Friends of the Earth/Westernport Swamp Landcare/ Surfing Victoria/Friends of the Koalas/Bird Observation and Conservation Foundation/Pakenham Racing Club/Astronomical Society of Victoria/Phillip Island Conservation Society/Friends of Wonthaggi Heathlands/Horticultural Peat Farmers Group/Westernport Bird Observation and Conservation & finally but very importantly Bass Coast Regional Health.

Environment Vic & Friends of the Earth raised many issues that were clearly outside the terms of the inquiry but they felt they needed to be made anyway and they are very disappointed that the issues of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions weren’t dealt with properly in the EES and the whole issue of the offsets is deliberately murky and likely will be very easy to lose the issue of the renewable offsets in the wider state and national issues. Environment Vic put forward a clear recommendation that contractors should be required to purchase and surrencer RECS (Renewable Energy Certificates) on a per annum basis that are then extinguished and never to be used or traded again. That is, no double dipping allowed like they did in Western Australia. This option of course is only if the plant cannot be powered directly by renewable energy. Also raised issue that the one and half million tonnes of GHG produced during the construction period has not been addressed for offsetting at all.

Now they did however say that Environmen Vic was “resigned” to the fact we might get the plant but they fully support the community campaign to stop it being built, but, if it is to go ahead it should be smaller and have the flexibility to be powered up or down to reduce the power requirements. They also took the opportunity to highlight the irony of building an energy hungry plant to deal with water shortages accelerated by climate change. Nick Wimbush did say that the Inquiry would be considering how the offsets are done in their deliberations so we wait to see their recommendations.

The Victorian Farmers Federation presented and again focused on the issue of above ground power lines and argue that the farming community has to incur a disproportionate share of the impact of this infrastructure. Danny wonders what they think the Bass Coast community is wearing as a proportion of this project??? They covered the range of issues re the impact on farming and practices, the Kooweerup swamp area and the PCN issue. They also raised the issue that if recycled water were to be taken from Eastern Treatment plant to the Latrobe Valley they would be looking to take 20GL on the way through and the above ground power lines would restrict their ability to access this water.

Other highlights included:
booster pump station assessments were done for the wrong location

extremely rare for the National Trust to get involved but felt they had to given the significant impact this could have on landscape values of the area and there should be real quantitative assessments done that take community sensitivity into account for industrialising the coastline

no adequate assessment of impact on roadside vegetation and their impact on safe corridors for native fauna & impacts on koala must be taken into account and mitigation methods in the EES are inadequate

impact of the natural flooding of the site and the opening of the Powlett to protect the site will have impacts on the snipe and haven’t seen any proposals as to how this would be handled.

Lighting of construction site will disorient birdlife and attract insects which could alter the mix of birdlife that comes to the area

Impact of construction on hooded plovers / orange bellied parrots and impact of dogs at the site

Power line route runs smack bang through the middle of the new Pakenham Racing Club track and completely buggers up their proposed build

Night light pollution must be considered by the Inquiry as it is pollution that doesn’t get considered in the EES

Numerous listed flora and fauna species have been omitted from the EES and the work needs to be redone

Peat soil cannot be returned in its original condition when it has been excavated for the pipeline and all that land will be lost to the farmers and the flow on impact it will have

There is not enough emergency department space to cater for a construction of this size and it is questionable as to sufficient lead time to bring the hospital up to speed.

Danny was really concerned re state of the health situation in our area but this is nothing new as we all know!! That’s all folks and on to the start of the new week of a full 5 days of hearings including Wednesday 29 October the WATERSHED day and come along one and all!

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Last Edit: 09 Nov 2008 @ 02 34 AM

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Daily updates from DANNY DESAL broadcasting from the INQUIRY in Pakenham

Well it was again another for Danny to listen to the same comment of “we don’t take a position on the desalination plant” but don’t put those nasty powerlines through our Shire! Danny was a lot calmer today as forewarned is forearmed I suppose and the repetition has stopped it feeling like a dagger in the heart every time you hear it. Having said that Danny was a little distressed at the beginning of the day seeing the raw emotion of those directly affected with the issues and the feel that the process doesn’t seem to have a real way of addressing and helping directly with this aspect. The stress of the issue is clear on some of the submitters and understandably so.

We heard from the Longwarry & District Progress Association about the last minute advice that area that comes under Baw Baw Shire re they were included in the “option” of an alternative northerly power grid connection. The Shire reiterated later in the day how it wasn’t until mid-September that they realised their Shire could actually be caught up in the desal process so they were shocked and haven’t had time to properly evaluate the whole thing and more work needs to be done accordingly. Danny fully appreciates the real concerns of this community and they are no less valid and important than those on the coast. But Danny also dismayed as to how the issue seemed to fly over that whole community and Councils radar until that time! What did they think the crew on the coast were all up in arms about? Danny will in future look closer into the issues that other communities are trying to raise as we can all be a bit narrow in our focus. If it doesn’t affect me, do I really care??????

Anyway, the EPA doesn’t appear concerned that they are possibly giving approval for concepts of what will happen rather than what will actually happen. The notion of approving a range of options rather than the final thing has been done before but in this case the range of variations for which approval is being sought all need to be assessed so the EPA says they need to have confidence for each of the variations. They say they have identified the key bits they want the inquiry to give them advice on to be in a position to assess those variations e.g. variations on diffuser designs. They want the advice from the Inquiry as to what might be missing or is recommended! Sound strange, well the Inquiry thought so too and asked and tried to explain to the EPA what difficulties they faced as a result of this process. The Inquiry did say “there is still a lot to be resolved” and tried to clarify where it all fit in terms of responsibility. But the EPA wasn’t saying it was with them and responded that there are “further issues and info needed to be provided by the Project Company that will need to be resolved and identified so there is clarity as to how that process moves forward. That is, some issues cannot be resolved until the final project company is on board and those issues resolved.” You get Danny’s drift!

They did admit that they do require additional info on the ecological impact of some of the saline discharge and it “would” be better to have a better understanding and Kerry Blacks work from last week. It just goes to show that they don’t have all the necessary information and it is still coming in and proves the rush of this process. There is no doubt there is a focus on the design of the diffusers as the means to just about fix everything but of course we won’t know that design until the successful tender is awarded. When asked who could be responsible for any future monitoring the system is again appearing to leave it all in the hands of the successful bidder saying that “in the first instance the proponent has prime responsibility” but did admit that the EPA has a role to play! At last someone saying they might be responsible outside of the operator!

Now Danny doesn’t want to be too much of a critic but the DSE Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services that then presented pretty much said we expect and assume the current policies and protocols will be adhered to! Well done! Danny loved the level of bureaucratic speak deployed in that presentation! Sir Humphrey Appleby from Yes Minister would have been proud!

Danny could go on and on about the City of Casey and South Gippsland Shire presentations but you know the drill as it’s been said till we can’t say it anymore.

The Bass Coast Landcare group gave a very impassioned presentation and made sure the Inquiry understood they absolutely oppose the planting of any “exotic” plants to be used as screening and everything should be indigenous. Great point and it was a slap to the landscape architects of yesterday who just want to plant the right size trees to cover things over. They also made the really good point of how discouraging and soul destroying this is for all the landcare volunteers who have committed endless volunteer hours and effort replanting and revegetating areas over 20 years to now find the government will simply rip them out to put in either a pipe or power line. Such actions have consequences and they need to be considered. Danny hopes the Inquiry heard their pleas as they were well made.

The Australian Conservation Foundation endeavoured to bring the Inquiry back to the basics about how the coast is managed and what is wrong with the process and decision. They also tried to encourage them to be brave and step outside their terms of reference. Let’s hope they will be brave.

Day 7 here we come and each day gets us one day closer to the Watershed day next Wednesday so Danny hopes to see as many people as possible there to show just how much the community supports this submission.

Danny continues to dare to dream!

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Last Edit: 29 Oct 2008 @ 12 53 PM

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Daily updates from DANNY DESAL broadcasting from the INQUIRY in Pakenham

Danny growing weary! Thank goodness today was the final day of witness statements and presentations by the Government as think the plan by the Government is to simply wear us all down so we’ll throw our hands in the air and scream “enough already do what you like”!!!

But Danny says NO WAY your not going to wear us down. Maurice has also been a steady member of the audience every day and asking some great questions to keep them on their toes. The presentations today ran the spectrum of electromagnetic fields (EMF) from the power routes, the social impacts and the so-called economic benefits of the plant, pipe, power of the local, regional and state and finally on waste management assessment. Danny will tell you up front that the waste presentation excludes the saline discharge and any decommissioning of the plant as that apparently isn’t important or required for an EPA Works Approval!  Let’s just worry about that later shall we, let’s leave that for the kids to work out when they will have to deal with it!

Danny also surprised to hear that the discussion on the EMF was not about any related health issues but rather the Government “submitted” to the Inquiry that they should approach this issue by satisfying themselves that the current standards applied in Australia are satisfied rather than whether or not the standard is acceptable or not! To make sure no other issue was discussed the expert presenter was also only an ‘expert’ on the electrical engineering angles and could offer no comments on any health issues as he wasn’t qualified. Apparently however magnetic fields vary through the course of the day depending on the load they are carrying and cannot be shielded by trees and buildings but then again perhaps it could be done but it is “typically expensive”.

The economic assessment expert again tried to tell us that “positive” interactions with the community and tourists could be achieved through tourism of the desal plant! What planet are these people on! Also, there will be so much work for local tradespeople involved with the plant that even if locals couldn’t get anyone for their home work then the trades people would want to work weekends to get the extra money so everyone would be happy!  Have they tried to get a tradesperson to come on a weekend and be paid normal rates !!!!!!! But despite these claims there was much discussion about the largely temporary nature of the workforce for the plant that would come and go and even the terms “fly in fly out” was used just like a mining town. A construction workers village was mentioned so many times yet the consultants had not been to one anywhere that had been created for such a thing like this.

I don’t know how many times Danny heard that “I’m sure it can all be done if there is proper community engagement and liason and a good plan put in place”?  Dear Danny, don’t you know that community engagement is the Governments specialty? We want more more more of it as it’s been such an enjoyable experience.

Danny was also very heartened today by the numerous questions from the Inquiry members about the social impact and they were all the questions we wanted asked and they weren’t taking rubbish answers either! Danny can only hope but today was one of the more uplifting days where Danny didn’t get depressed by the end. Don’t put too much faith in the process however as no matter how good the Inquiry is, it’s still up to the Minister for Planning what, if anything, he accepts from their report.

Well, perhaps there is sunshine coming tomorrow as the Government finished their case today and we start on other groups submissions on Thursday morning and then into the individual submissions. The EPA is on so we’ll see if the Inquiry puts them under the pump re the works approval and waste disposal issues.

Danny dreams on!

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Posted By: Danny Desal
Last Edit: 23 Oct 2008 @ 07 14 AM

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Daily updates from DANNY DESAL broadcasting from the INQUIRY in Pakenham

Today was truly an ELECTRIFYING day at the Inquiry with 3 hours spent on the power supply options to the desal plant. Danny continues to be worried by the push from other affected groups such as Cardinia Shire and the Power Grid Option Group to either put it underground or build the gas fired power plant on site on the coast. Now Danny fully understands the call to put the power underground but to push for a power plant to be built on the coast smacks a little bit NIMBY perhaps!

Danny starting to get agitated !

Just imagine if all the resources opposing this plant had been focusing on stopping the plant being built in the first place? NO PLANT: NO POWER & NO PIPE! However its clear that the desal plant is being positioned as creating benefits to the local area including the additional power supply that the area needs anyway. Discussions included brown outs that we are all so familiar with and how this will fix it. SP Ausnet may have had plans to upgrade the power anyway but the desal plant has come in over the top so they will likely not be needed. The Agricultural scientist - Raymond Phillips - confirmed that the least impact option on agriculture would be underground and they haven’t measured “intangible” such as dislocation of homestead, or the trauma of intrusion as it’s difficult to put a dollar value on it. Something in life are priceless perhaps??? There was also an admission that perhaps the rehabilitation of land from BassGas has not been up to scratch and better control over contractors and project management could have helped!

Now Danny needs to check but the Government commitment to using recyclable energy does appear to have been further refined or maybe I just missed it in amongst the 1700 pages! The statements today were that the Government has committed to “offsetting the electricity used by the plant & water transfer pipeline” through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Further the “required RECs based on electricity consumption NOT generation“. Now if a gas plant is built and it then provides power back to the grid that is not covered by the RECs. Might be nothing but perhaps Danny was looking too hard!

Allan Wyatt - Landscaper Architect - confirmed his recommendation (which isn’t the same as the proponent’s) for installation of steel poles and not the lattice towers on all the above ground areas from Woolamai to Tynong North. They also continue to claim that you won’t be able to make out the desal plant from the “magnificent” view as you come around from Anderson roundabout. Panel member Greg Sharpley did use the term “magnificent” in his question so they do see what we all see. The usual spiel about night lighting that won’t be like what we see tonight from the sample plant and also re-hiding the plant with proper mounding around the site and trees to cover power poles. Danny did feel like the Panel was asking very pertinent questions and really gave the impression that they had seen the area and appreciate the beautiful coast as we do.

Long day not finishing until 6pm and tomorrow they are putting up 4 experts so starting earlier at 9.30am and likely to still run through until 6pm. Danny isn’t dropping off just yet though and hoping you find these updates slightly interesting. Finding the highpoints is hard as they are far and few between.

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Posted By: Danny Desal
Last Edit: 22 Oct 2008 @ 08 00 AM

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Danny has to first apologise for the delay in getting DAY 3 out to everyone as it is an exhausting process that I’m sure is designed to simply wear everyone down so they give up in complete desperation and there’s still 12 days to go with the most excruciating day to come. That is, 4 hours of “closing comments” by the Government as proponent on the final day. Yes, that’s right the Government gets a final 4 hours to respond to all the issues raised that might be causing problems with the Panel just to ensure they are left in the right frame of mind!
 
Anyway DAY 3 was a scientists heaven with presentations from Dr. Scott Chidgey / Marine Biologist who further expounded the work from Dr. Kerry Black re the mixing and flushing of Bass Strait as if it is an open ocean environment. Followed by Ian Smales from our ever present consultants BIOSIS Research on Flora & Fauna, marine mammals, birds and reptiles and then importantly by Dr. Michael St John Warne on the toxicity impacts of the discharges from the plant. I’ll also add here that if I have to see the one minute underwater video of just how so much is growing on the intake/outake pipes in WA I think I’ll scream! Enough already of the propoganda videos that show an environment that is absolutely nothing like Bass Strait!
 
Now I’m no scientist but the most telling question was from a member of the community at the very end of the day to Dr Warne as to whether or not they evaluated the impact of the exact chemical mix that this plant will use and, big surprise, NO as they don’t actually know that list as yet since it’s a PPP!  The same recurring theme that has plagued the Inquiry from day 1.
 
Dr Chidgey listed their prioritisation for site selection and it was:
  • mobile sand or mobile gravel
  • sand
  • scoured reef & rubble
  • lower relief reefs
  • extensive, high relief or complex reefs; and
  • substantial seagrass meadows.
When asked where the Wonthaggi site was situated in this list of priorities he clearly responded that it was in the range between “scoured reef & rubble and lower relief reefs”.  Well doesn’t that mean it isn’t in their ideal location as it’s between third and fourth ideal location! He also clearly stated that there “could be impacts on the reef” and he doesn’t necessarily mean the creation of ‘dead zones’ but rather that there will be changes in the community structure. He, like Dr Black repeated how important the diffusers were to minimise impacts so this continues to be a crucial part of their argument.  In case you didn’t know it they are defining the “mixing zone” initially as an area of 700mL x 500mW x 200m inshore from the discharge point but this is still up for further analysis and examination.
 
There appeared some confusion as to the exact location of the intake/outake pipes as questioned by the Inquiry and that they couldn’t precisely tell from various references in the multitude of reports! Good sign that they are watching carefully perhaps?
 
Couple of items I’m going to have to spend some spare time looking for - what recommendations have the consultants made in their reports that the Performance Requirements might not have picked up on?????? Any help appreciated as the Inquiry seems keen to identify them and we can help?
 
Well Day 4 (Tuesday 21/Oct) is looking to be heavily focused on the power issues with a new witness being requested by the Inquiry - Mr Neville Henderson - now appearing first to I think talk in a more general sense about the power connection issues and Stephen Boyle who was to talk about the EMF issues to come later. No doubt the Councils all worried more about how the power looks across their Shire than the big issue - that is, if there’s no plant there’s no power! DUH !
 
Here comes another long week but will try to keep you informed each day and hopefully not toooooo boring!
 

 

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Posted By: Danny Desal
Last Edit: 20 Oct 2008 @ 08 59 PM

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An analysis of the scale of the proposed desalination plant on other water augmentation options within the Victorian Government’s Water Plan. There is a real question mark over whether the Government has any real intentions of making significant use of recycled water!

Download Neil Rankine’s Submission to the Environmental Effects Statement Panel Hearings(PDF ~ 1.6mb)

Excerpt from Sections 1 & 2

1. Introduction

The scoping document produced by the Department of Planning and Community Development (1) for the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) of the proposed desalination plant, being part of the governments Water Plan (2), requires that the scale of the plant and its impacts on other augmentations within Government policy must be considered.

p14 - ‘the EES report should include:

• A description of the project’s objectives and rationale, as well as its relationship to strategic policies and plans’

p20 - ‘describe, explain, and if relevant also assess, feasible concept alternatives for:

• the scale and staging of the plant development’

The EES rightly states that; ‘Scale is without precedent’, this plant will be larger than any currently operating worldwide, and as such it’s place within Greater Melbourne’s water supply network and its effect on other supply options must be considered. Further, the economic and environmental effects of a single plant of this unprecedented scale would be proportionately reduced if the scale could be reduced while still allowing the governments to satisfy overall system needs, perhaps with the addition of other augmentations. Other policy initiatives such as recycling are recognised as having beneficial environmental spinoffs and should not be excluded by the adoption of excessive scale of desalination.

p21 - ‘Economic effects …. In relation to a plant capable of producing up to 150 or 200 GL …..

• Explain the considerations underlying the proposed scale and potential staging of the desalination plant, in terms of supply capacity”

2. Summary

This modelling and analysis of Government data and referenced studies confirms the following:

• In a future scenario approximating a continuation of the last 10 years of drought water storages will be spilling or close to it for typically five years with desalination operating at a 100 GL or 150 GL scale. Additional augmentation of 55GL to supply, above these desalination levels, leads to storage levels at or near spilling for 25 to 40 years.

• In a future scenario where the lowest on record 2006 inflow repeats every third year, demand returns to unrestricted levels under permanent water saving rules, and desalination scale is at 150 GL, additional augmentation produces a similar result. A 55GL additional augmentation has storages at or near spilling for more than 20 years.

This presents a compelling case that the proposed scale of this project is excessive and will have an adverse effect on the uptake of alternatives that are part of current Government policy or may be part of future policy.

Consideration also needs to be given to this scale of desalination tying up storage infrastructure, in particular Cardinia Reservoir, and the adverse effects that this may have on the ability to implement other supply options.

Government policy is rightly to diversify and boost supply to meet future demand, however the current proposal looks like restricting diversity largely to a single option, desalination. Given the Victorian community has considerable economic investment in and desire to implement supply options such as recycling, and that it is Government policy to implement large scale recycling, this scale of desalination seems at odds with the communities expectations of their Government. It should be noted that Government does not have a mandate to implement desalination, in fact it has a mandate that it should be a last resort.

The community also requires their Government to limit Victoria’s greenhouse gas emission to the extent practicable, in order that future generations do not bear too large a costs from climate change. By limiting augmentation largely to the option that produces the greatest greenhouse emissions, the offsets required are significantly larger than would be the case with a more diverse range of supply options. This will mean that a greater quantity of feasible renewable energy is tied up in water infrastructure, and is thus unable to be used to offset other existing Victorian emissions.

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Categories: Tech Talk
Posted By: admin
Last Edit: 21 Jul 2010 @ 09 32 PM

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