Canal vs Desalination
The issue that has dominated the WA election campagin is Colin Barnett's canal plan. The idea is that to aleviate Perth's water crisis a Liberal government would build the world's longest canal to channel water from the Kimberly to Perth. A bold plan indeed, and not without merit, not at all. However, Barnett's refusal not to forge on with the project without a full assesment and disclosure of costs and other viability considerations is utter folly. Labor agrees, saying they are open to the idea but only after a thorough investigation. The alternative is a desalination plant, advocated by the Gallop government. I've always been taken by the concept, but as of yet limited details have been released about it. In the debate Barnett attacked it on energy and environmental grounds, valid concerns which are yet to be disproven.
Robert Corr has been all over the story since the debate and has blogged about nothing else but what a foolish idea the canal is. Now it's all very well to bash Colin over the head with a blunt object all day, but shouldn't we be examining the desalination proposal with just as much vigour? We need to be comparing the two plans on their merits rather than simply attacking one of them. John Quiggin rose to the challenge at my request with an economist analysis of the desalination plant. However the environmental considerations are yet to be investigated.
Here are all the posts pertaining to the debate, I will update this list as we go.
Robert's initial analysis of the canal plan.
Canal recieves little backing.
It is revealed Barnett blocked something similar 12 years ago.
Costello calls for canal cost planning.
Treasury says cost are underestimated.
Canal may encourage water waste.
John Quiggin gets in on the act with an unflattering economic assesment.
Barnett refuses to put a price tag on canal.
Hell, floating in icebergs would be cheaper!
Howard refuses unconditional backing.
Quiggin, at my request, does an economic assesment of the desalination plan.
Quiggin examines power requirements for canal and says it could exceed $10/kL.
Barnett in the cotton industry's pocket?
Tenix says desalination is needed.
The West is biased on canal.
Rob's New Matilda article on the canal and nurses.
Tenix reveals hidden costs.
Quiggin's Financial Review piece on the canal.
Barnett refuses independant cost analysis for canal project.