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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 3

I Background

II Early European Settlements

III Assessment Of Available Water Resources

IV Water Supplies For Goldmining Development

V Irrigation Development

VI Farm And Stock Water Supplies

VII Urban Water Supplies

VIII Wastewater Management And Treatment

IX Water Quality Management

X Limnological And Water Quality Research
i Drinking water quality
ii Irrigation and Stock Waters
iii Descriptive phase research
iv System understanding phase

XI New Techniques In Water Resource Planning And Management

XII Legislation

XIII Conclusion

XIV List Of Abbreviations

XV Acknowledgements

XVI Plantations-high Productivity Resources



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Descriptive phase research

The systematic chemical analysis of river and reservoir water was commenced by the various water authorities soon after they were established. Typical is this extract from the 1890 Annual Report of the Victorian Department of Water Supply (now the Rural Water Commission) -

Thirty-five samples of water were analysed . . . Seventeen of these were examined for their potability and eighteen of them for their manurial value in irrigation.

The potable waters were analysed for total solids, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and alumina, chloride, sulphur, silica, organic matter, nitrate and nitrite, ammonia, albumenoid nitrogen, hardness (permanent and temporary). Some biological examinations were also conducted by an eminent analyst from Sydney.

Some excellent pioneering work was done by V. G. Anderson in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He postulated that there were three main factors in controlling the quality of natural waters in Australia -

  1. the proportion of oceanic salts initially present in rain water;

  2. the proportion of soluble matter taken up from rock formations, and

  3. the extent to which the soluble matter is concentrated by natural evaporation
    and transportation.

These views, not widely circulated at the time, have since become generally accepted.

In the early 60s, original work on the chemistry and biology of salt lakes around Australia was commenced by Bayley and Williams. Concurrent studies began on the composition of rain and sources of salts in fresh and saline lakes.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Victoria. Government Departments

People in Bright Sparcs - Anderson, V. G.; Williams, W. D.

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© 1988 Print Edition page 185, Online Edition 2000
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