Save the Yarragadee

“All governments are only interested in centralised control ” Bill Mollison

The Water Corporation want to increase the water they pump from the Yarragadee by a factor of 3. They dont know what this will do to shallow aquifers, forest, rivers and surface water.

“The  Warren Blackwood regional water supply scheme, historically relied on independent local dams. Now it is an integrated scheme with groundwater supplementing dams due to the impact of climate change”   says  the Water Corporation ( WC), a section of the WA state government. The communities of Kirup and Mullalyup were recently added to the list of 10 towns on this scheme with the completion of the Greenbushes to Kirup pipeline. We’re informed that the scheme may also be expanded to include supply to Pemberton, Northcliffe and Quinninup.

In other words, if this plan is enacted, water for 15 far flung towns will be coming from one source ( Thomas Rd Nannup, the bore is 500 meters from us ) and will be pumped through many hundreds of kilometers of pipes by  coal- generated electricity. 

Pumping water is one of the biggest power users on many farms, and WC is infamously the biggest power user in the state. They could be the biggest contributor to climate change in the state of Western Australia. How is it that while the rest of us are encouraged to eat crickets to combat climate change ( misguided though that is) the government get to extract water from deep aquifers and sell it to far distant townspeople.

GRAVITY and local town dams  were relied upon for close to 2 centuries. WC now proposes that a large sector of the  South West AND Warren district’s population  will be fully reliant on fossil fuel powered pumps , and whatever they propose goes. Abandonment of local dams was foreshadowed at inception of the Nannup bore in 2007,   the operation of which has no doubt lowered the fossil water in the deep Yarragdee Aquifer considerably already. We heard the giant aquifer which extends to Perth  was dropping by 10 cm a year back in 2007, when WC was just warming us up to their peculiar plan. How many meters has it dropped by now?  And what effects have been measured?

Is the aquifer recharging? For one, clearing farmlans and logging native forests has reduced rainfall. But it took a raindrop 22,000 years to make it’s way into the Yarragadee aquifer! Not many of the fewer raindrops today will ever make it into the aquifer because decades ago Governments saw fit to drain, that’s right, dig drains and channels throughout the Nannup, Margaret River, Busselton,  Donnybrook and  Bridgetown shires. This huge network of drains takes the water away to the ocean as quickly as possible. The results of Government’s opposing the Permaculture principal to “Slow, Spread and Sink” water into the ground, and of their past land- clearing actions, is the dehydrated landscape we see today. A world wide ramping up of prescribed burning, seized upon by Terry Redman MP of the Barnett/ Redman government, is carried on enthusiastically to this day by McGowan’s State government. The majority of the public including politicians are ignorant of the science that says that burning makes the bush more flammable. and as I type a pall of smoke lies over my town. Biodiversity, rainfall and human health are the casualties. Which side of the road here looks more igniteable? The bush on the left side was recently the subject of a prescribed burn.

You would think a series of governments were trying to make the southwest uninhabitable as quickly as possible.

Please join me in opposing  the Bridgetown Water Supply scheme by writing to your MP. It is ironic that   “climate change, declining water quality, …..and increasing demand” are cited as reasons for  this expansion of a scheme that we were promised in 2006 was  “only for emergency use ” .  But surely government policies inviting more and more  immigrants into this parched land is increasing demand? Then again, WC planners should note what U.S. and UK insurance companies have reported  a horrific 40% rise in all cause mortality in working age people in 2021. Also, official ABS data – just published on Friday Nov 25th, reveals a 17% excess death figure: this is for all-cause deaths, in Australia, as certified and registered to the end of August 22. This equates to an extra 18,671 Australian lives. This is for 8 months of data and the trend line does not look like dropping. This is the highest-ever recorded. Normally only 2 % of the population are expected to die in the 8 month period.

The Bridgetown Scheme is not all. Margaret River people also receive Yarragadee water pumped across from the Mowen Road bore in Nannup. The bores are roughly 35 kms apart.

What is the long term plan for all the towns within a hundred km radius of Nannup when WC have extracted all the fossil water in the Yarragadee ?  What will be left of the forest and shallow aquifers by then? Will Farmers be extinct like so many native species ?

What is the point of WC and the  (DOW)  anyway?   The  DOW    gives out licences to a  few farmers to pump as much water  as  small city would, and to cause salt water intrusion. Eg, the family growing vegies in Myalup ( the same brothers that salted and dehydrated Waneroo). When I tried to alert the DOW to the degradation of the soil by this copius carrot irrigation, the official must have missed my point and told me I could apply for a licence to draw on the Yarragadee too, if I like…………. as if I felt envious.

Let farmers provide for their own water supply caught from the heavens, maybe then they will improve their soil to infiltrate and hold moisture before attempting  to grow veggies? Maybe then they won’t run thousands of butterfly sprinklers on sand, 24/7 ?    WC and DOW must stop taking the water out from under farmers  and allowing a few rogue horticulturalists to do so as well.  What is the point of chemicalised veggies in the diet anyway?

 Water  conservation by house holders is demonstrably possible, but few prefer to put in some storage tank/s and catch their own clean water supply, rather than paying huge quarterly bills to WC for disgusting chlorinated water.  Grey water systems would be more popular too, if WC did not exist.  WC’s  long , long pipelines ( to Quinninup, which centers on a giant lake! ) would clog up in no time without the copious use of biocide ( chlorine). What is the point of poisoned water anyway?

 As the WC now admit “The [Bridgetown] scheme currently relies mostly on groundwater from the region’s deepest aquifer, the Yarragadee aquifer, via a bore near Nannup. A further 25% of water supply comes from the larger local dams – Millstream Dam, Manjimup Dam and Tanjannerup Dam. Originally, the bore was only used for backup supply, but now it is the main source.”

  As Nannup bores are set to ramp up, may common sense and eco literacy yet flower in the hearts and minds of WC managers,  may this project be shelved and may ecologically sound alternatives be forthcoming.

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