No Elephants in the Tamar
ROSS Warren (The Examiner, March 4) makes some sweeping statements about the condition of the upper Tamar which are at odds with the findings from extensive research conducted over the last 10 years or so. Decommissioning of Trevallyn power station is one of a number of projects which would definitely reduce the silt accumulation. A more effective project is the return of the Tailrace outflow to the Yacht Basin via a waterway along the Trevallyn foreshore. Both projects and others in the North Esk are under consideration by the Tamar Estuary Management Taskforce.
Silting in the North Esk is unrelated to Trevallyn and is no reason for dismissing either of the Trevallyn fixes.
As for water quality, treatment of storm water and sewage to potable water quality is both expensive and unnecessary. Combined systems are successfully used around the globe but not in upper estuaries.
All problems have root causes which must be addressed or removed to solve the problem. The root causes of the sewage issue in Launceston are the inappropriate discharge points – a basic design flaw. As the incoming tide flows no more than about 10km the solution is both obvious and cheap.
Dr Ian Kidd, estuarine scientist, West Launceston.
Devonport’s Ross Warren is a defender of Hydro’s professionalism in the South Esk/Tamar River debate and for sound reasons. But the technical generating advantage in diverting the South Esk from the Gorge 60 years ago has little to do with the quality or fairness of the decision.
The public debate of the time was by no means unanimous, the Member for Bass, John Ockerby MHA described it as the greatest larceny ever perpetrated on the people of Launceston.
Today, the efficiency argument would fall well short of environmental, river health or competing uses such as tourism and public amenity.
The South Esk, Tasmania’s second largest river, has been reduced to a small creek below the Trevallyn Dam and can no longer do its job of flushing and cleansing.
Hydro is among Australia’s largest water managers and as such should have innovative answers to rectify this old problem which is not going away.
There should be no argument, Launceston is entitled to full enjoyment of its natural endowments, the spectacle of the cataract, a cleaner healthier Yacht Basin and nature’s gift of three great rivers meeting at our city's heart.