lets-go-dutch-solution-for-floodsCalls for solution from Bass Coast Shire Council about flooding in Silverleaves, on Phillip Island, surely we don’t need any more investigation(s)?
Has anything changed? If not, the same old problem is that, first, the water table is too high because of accumulation of storm water run-off and, second, the location is so low lying that the only possible drain to Rhyll Inlet is not low enough.
The only band aid solution previously has been petrol driven pumping of water into garbage trucks(!) which then drive to unknown destination to discharge. This sounds ridiculously expensive for equipment, fuel, personnel and time.
There are few problems in life which have never been encountered before. For this kind of drainage problem, the most obvious place in the world to have developed solutions is Holland. The objective is to lower the water table, to make the land less sodden, so that, next time, there’s somewhere for water to be absorbed before it floods at the surface.
And the solution is windmills, unmanned, clean and free fuel, no burden on shire management.
Of course, there’s some capital cost. You could build replicas of the good old fashioned windmills typical of Holland. But, considering the problem is only present during winter, wouldn’t it be better to get other value for the rest of the year?
Silverleaves itself is down in a hollow, with plenty of tree cover, perhaps not the best place for a windmill. So how about a wind turbine, which could be located on top of the windy old tip site? This would generate electricity to power electric pumps in Silverleaves and put power into other purposes for the rest of the year, a swimming pool perhaps!
Elsewhere, even in Australia, there are many examples of CORE (Community Owned Renewable Energy) projects. Here, the closest is two wind turbines at Hepburn. As well wind, this kind of project is now easily affordable with solar PV providing big areas of shade, in appropriate places, like car parks.
There are many benefits with this kind of Distributed Generation of power, from one example, being a safe place for people to invest private super, to another, being local conditioning of supply, protection from peaks, troughs and surges that we experience at the end of a long skinny power line.
Of course, to make this kind of thing happen, it takes leadership. Best example of previous success is with a man of unlikely name, Alan Jones, as shire engineer for local government of Woking UK, not remote, just 35km from central London, he took the whole of local government off grid, completely disconnected from conventional electricity supply.
To do the same again, he’s now on big retainer salaries, with government of places as big as London, also others like Melbourne and Sydney.
So how about it Islanders? Can we get a CORE project together, to fix flooding, once and for all, in Silverleaves and make this a trigger to become more independent from big, dirty, centralised, fossil fuel, global warming type power stations?

Bernie McComb, Cowes.