CLARENCE RIVER DIVERSION
A glimpse of what the future might hold
September 2007
The myth that the Clarence River is a mighty waterway gushing millions of
megalitres of water wastefully into the ocean, has been resurrected once again. Dam-
building enthusiasts argue that the upper reaches of the river should be dammed and
half its average annual flow pumped 300 kilometres to south east Queensland.
For anyone knowing the Clarence River, common sense would dictate that this
proposal is dangerously irresponsible, and would rob the lower reaches of vital
flows. While ostensibly promoted by engineers and politicians as a back-up for
Brisbane and the Gold Coast who suffer dwindling water supplies during drought,
many believe the transfer of water would simply accelerate the already manic urban
expansion that has been occurring for the past forty years.
Earlier this year the Federal Water Minister, Malcolm Turnbull released a Snowy
Mountains Engineering Corporation's report which claimed it would be feasible to
send water to southeast Queensland from rivers in northern New South Wales. That
proposal would take ten times as much water as is currently used by the entire Coffs
Clarence Region; but would it stop at that.
To gain some insight into what could, and most likely would occur if a dam were
built on the Clarence, we draw attention to the Phoenix story in the USA.
The Clarence River, just upstream from its confluence with the Mann River.
The myth that this
is somehow a mighty waterway has been used by dam-building proponents to argue for the
upper reaches of the river to be dammed near Tabulam, and half its annual average flow at that
point pumped 300 kilometres to Queensland, to back-up their dwindling water supplies.