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Friday, June 29, 2007

Kangaloon Aquifer pumping halted - at present

Idle Pump Outlet, reveals
the amount of iron
contamination left by
4 months of pumping.
The SCA has temporarily stopped pumping from the Kangaloon Aquifer. They did this last last Wednesday 20 June 2007. We have not commented on this up until now, as we did not know quite what the SCA was "up to". Here is a photo taken by a "research assistant", showing pump outlet no longer running. The rust staining is clearly evident. It is iron contamination from the water in the Aquifer.
We have now heard that the SCA responded to a question from a journalist, with advice that they have turned off the pumps "to monitor how the Kangaloon aquifer recharges after the recent heavy rainfall and to observe water level recovery patterns across the area".
What a crock ...???
First day of pumping.

The reality is that the Nepean Dam is full, (confirmed by SCA's Bulk Water Supply website reports). Therefore, to continue to pump water down the Nepean River would be to waste precious Groundwater.

The Nepean River was in flood over the weekend of 16, 17 June 2007, but the SCA was still pumping water from the Kangaloon Aquifer.

Nepean River running high,

after the flood peak had passed.

Bernard Eddy protested this scandalous waste, directly to the SCA's Bulk Water Manager, Mr Ian Tanner. He also raised this scandalous waste of precious water in public (via radio in Sydney and the Illawarra and Southern Highlands) on Monday 18 January. Finally they stopped the pumping on the Wednesday, (20 June).

For them to claim that they have stopped pumping "to monitor how the Kangaloon Aquifer recharges" is purely Public Relations "spin". As I mentioned above, to use the vernacular: What a crock....???

David Thompson, of the Save Water Alliance committee, has spoken (in the last few days) with the SCA and has been told that the Aquifer is recharging fast. This is hardly surprising, given that they have been pumping along the coarse fractured zone known as the Mt Murray monocline (or fault). Everyone acknowledges that these coarse fracture zones would likely recharge much more readily than Aquifer zones under the main sandstone plateau.

My point is simply to forewarn you that the SCA will doubtless claim (in the near future) that there has been no long-term effect on the Aquifer.

Let us not forget that the whole testing program was held off deliberately by the SCA until after the major rainfall event in February. John Ross (Project Manager) and Graeme Head (CEO of the SCA) told Bernard Eddy and myself, at a site meeting in January, that they were hoping to get a "rainfall event". That event happened over 10 and 11 February, with some 322 mm of rain in 36 hours. Within days they had written to the Federal Environment Department proposing that they commence "test pumping" (letters of 20 and 22 February from Mr Tony Collins).

We argued at the time that testing in such extreme circumstances would not be representative of a borefield designed to operate as a water supply system "in drought conditions".
Nepean River
Robertson has had huge amounts of rain in June (as has most of the Sydney Catchment). In fact we had 318 mm of rain over the long weekend of 9 -11 June. Subsequently, a further 55 mm fell in several hours on 16 June. That rainfall caused the Nepean River to flood (not the earlier larger rainfall event) - because the countryside was saturated by the huge rain of the previous week. So the run-off was immediate.

We have had subsequent rain. The point is, we are now approaching a record rainfall event, the last such rainfall was in 1950 (a record year).

It would be totally non-sensical for the SCA to use the rainfall events of this year as a gauge of anything which might tell you about how "safe" it is to pump from the Kangaloon Aquifer, under severe drought conditions.

Let us not forget that the whole project is known by the SCA as: "Groundwater - Investigations for drought water supply".

If the SCA could guarantee to get two "one in ten year" rainfall events, as we have had this season, then, hardly anyone would object to limited pumping of the Kangaloon Aquifer. But, to use this year's rainfall events (and any recharge figures they might produce as a result) as justification for pumping to be "safe" would be totally meaningless.

Accordingly, in accordance with their management of the Upper Nepean Borefield project, so far, I expect that they will make exactly such a claim in the near future.

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