The weekly wash-up (March 22)

The week that was in river and water news – March 22nd, 2013

Water industry steps up and secures water supplies   Two National Water Commission reports show sustained improvements in water quality, delivery efficiency and water conservation. Notwithstanding population growth, Australia’s city-dwellers are using 8%  less water than they were in 2005-06.

Queensland’s last uranium mine still leaking radioactive water 30 years after production stopped   According to a committee report handed to the State Government this week, the return of uranium mining to Queensland is “risky but manageable”. The report also says the Mary Kathleen mine’s pit is still full of highly contaminated water and since the mine closed in 1982, several other studies have found “ongoing environmental legacy issues”.

The Mary Kathleen uranium mine in Qld. Photo by: Gavin Lawrence

The Mary Kathleen uranium mine in Qld. Photo by: Gavin Lawrence

More rain could cut Brisbane water supply: ecologist  In late January Brisbane came within six hours of running out of drinking water after river water “four times muddier than normal” blocked the Mt Crosby Treatment Plant. The muddy water came from erosion in the Lockyer Valley. This problem was first identified by SEQ Water in 2007 but action has yet to be taken.

14,000 plus dead pigs in Shanghai River  The mystery of the “floating pigs” seems to have been solved as 8 farms have been fined for improperly disposing of carcasses by dumping them in the Huangpo River. Authorities have assured the 23 million residents of Shanghai that the water supply, of which 20% comes from the Huangpu, is safe.

NASA finds more signs of Mars water   More signs of past water on Mars have been uncovered by the American space agency NASA’s Curiosity rover. Powder drilled from a Martian rock revealed evidence that billions of years ago streams up to one metre deep existed. This means there were conditions favourable to life.