The weekly wash-up (April 26)

The week that was in river and water news – April 26th, 2013

Crocodiles to be relocated away from popular north Qld beaches   The Queensland Environment Minister announced the make-up of a new 12-member local advisory group on crocodile management. It includes politicians, crocodile farmers, a surf lifesaver, aboriginal elders and councillors from Cape York. “We’ve got to start putting public safety at the forefront” said Mr Powell. “I will take advice from scientific groups, but nothing beats on-the-ground know how.”

Coal expansion prompts dam concerns  New South Wales Government water authorities say a proposed expansion of coal mining in a water catchment south of Sydney could cause subsidence and leaks from the Cataract Dam. There has already been subsidence in the Cataract Dam caused by previous mining of two other coal seams.

Rivers act as “horizontal cooling towers”  Scientists from the University of New Hampshire have detailed how rivers provide an important ecosystem service to the regional electricity sector. Thermoelectric power plants provide 90% of US electricity by boiling water to create steam that in turn drives turbines to produce electricity. Roughly half of the waste heat produced is transferred to rivers.  Reliance on rivers to dispense waste heat alters temperature regimes, which impacts fish habitat and other aquatic ecosystem services.

Springborg refuses to drink CSG water  Queensland’s health minister has refused to sample a bottle of  groundwater from a coal seam gas region in the state’s south. Protesters from the anti-CSG group Lock the Gate Alliance challenged people to sip local water from Tara, west of Toowoomba.

Wetland on Naree station. Photo by Bush Heritage

Wetland on Naree station. Photo by Bush Heritage

Unspoilt stretch of Murray-Darling to be conserved  Graziers have sold  a 14,000 ha property straddling the Paroo and Warrego rivers to conservation group Bush Heritage. Naree cattle station, 150 kilometres north-west of Bourke, features an abundance of wetlands rich in bird and plant life. The Paroo and Warrego rivers are the last free-flowing rivers in the entire Murray-Darling basin.

More rain expected for already swollen rivers  Communities along the Mississippi River and other Midwestern waterways eyed and in some cases fortified makeshift levees. Last week’s downpours brought on sudden flooding throughout the Midwest, and high water is blamed for at least three deaths.