Monday, March 22, 2010

A Water Question

In times of flood we need to plan for times of drought,

In times of drought we need to plan for times of flood,

I would like to pose a question, I am not completely knowledgable about
the transport system of the hunter valley but my engineering background makes me want to ask some questions about water. This may become totally impractical or too expensive or too inconvenient, but i have had this question running around in my head for quite a while.

When i first arrived in Newcastle in 2005 the hunter valley especially the upper hunter valley was in the grips of a major drought. Since the June 2007 storms where the hunter valley got sufficient rain, I think the talk has shifted to the tillegra dam and I haven't heard too much about the water situation in the upper hunter valley and what measures are being made to secure the water security to such a vital part of the state.

There are a few things i can state
  1. Coal trucks take tonnes of coal a day down from the mines full to the Port of Newcastle
  2. Coal trucks return back to the hunter valley empty
  3. The upper hunter requires potable water for drinking especially during times of drought
  4. The upper hunter could also use recylced or storm water if collected in water plentiful newcastle city.

Even in the grips of water shortages throughout NSW, Newcastle wasn't subjected to any water restrictions.

The question i pose is has there been an investigations either governmental or even a university project to

  1. see how possible or practical it would be to retrofit to coal trucks to carry water either fresh for drinking or recylced water to be used on crops or for process water for the mine's or power stations
  2. see the added costs of fueling the trains to carry the water
  3. see the logistical implications caused by possible delays in refilling the coal trucks
  4. see the infrastructure costs of transporting water to, and from the rail line, filling and offloading the water
  5. see the suitability of the water transported for use at it's destination

If you have any comments please do, I'd be interested to know your ideas/ opinions.

1 comment:

  1. As I said in a tweet both the big dams in the Hunter are in the 70% full range.
    Since the drought a lot of changes have been introduced to cut wastage & Macquaire Generation who are the biggest water users have installed bigger pumps to allow them to take more water in a high flow. I think that in the drought they let the dams get to low before placing restrictions.
    I am not sure about the train idea due to the cost, where you get the water to fill them, turn around time & also I think coal wagons are uncovered so splashing would be a problem also iam not sure how leak proof they are. Wagon may need baffles to stop water slapping back & forth. I know this a problem in tankers.