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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
i Reticulation systems
ii Water treatment
iii Water saving techniques
iv Desalination
v Conjunctive use - West Pilbara water supply
vi Conjunctive use - Newcastle and district water supply scheme
vii Olympic Dam mining project - water supply
viii Urban water supply dams in South Australia
ix Multi-purpose schemes - the Wivenhoe project

VIII Wastewater Management And Treatment

IX Water Quality Management

X Limnological And Water Quality Research

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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Urban Water Supplies

The steady growth of Australia's major cities in the second half of the 19th century followed the expansion of agricultural production, largely for export, and this growth was given a significant impetus by the discovery of gold in several States and the influx of thousands of miners from around the world. This growth, in turn, led to a need for vastly expanded water supplies to serve the industries and inhabitants of these burgeoning cities. Per capita usage was much higher than in the United Kingdom because of the climate. Major sources of water were generally remote from population centres and there was extreme variability of flows in Australian rivers.

These factors combined to create a need for significantly larger and more costly storages than those to which the early water supply engineers were accustomed, together with a requirement to convey water over long distances from headworks to consumer. This led to some bold and imaginative decisions by early engineers, such as the setting aside of large areas of mountain catchments for the future needs of Melbourne. This decision, often criticized because it locked up timber and recreational resources, has been largely vindicated over time, particularly because it has permitted Melburnians to enjoy high quality water supplies at relatively low cost.

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© 1988 Print Edition page 170, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher