An assessment of the historic Bradfield Scheme to divert water inland from north Queensland. A technical report to the National Water Grid Authority from the CSIRO Bradfield Scheme Assessment.

Petheram, C., Read, A., Hughes, J., Stokes, C., Philip, S., Peake, A., Marvanek, S., Yang, A., Devlin, K., Rogers, L., Wilson, P., Baynes, F., Podger, G., Macintosh, A., Stratford, D., Potter, N., Kim, S., Tredger, R., Barber, M., Wang, B., McJannet, D., Jarvis, D., Vanderbyl, T., Watson, I., and Chilcott, C. (2022) An assessment of the historic Bradfield Scheme to divert water inland from north Queensland. A technical report to the National Water Grid Authority from the CSIRO Bradfield Scheme Assessment. Report. CSIRO, Australia.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only



Eighty-three years after first being proposed, the Bradfield Scheme and its variants still arise as part of the national discourse on drought and water security. The term Bradfield has become almost synonymous with ideas for ‘solving drought’ by turning north Queensland rivers inland and/or moving water from northern Australia south. Interest in ‘Bradfield concepts’ rise especially in times of drought and are generally promoted as means to stimulate ‘nation building’ through creating significant and enduring regional economic development opportunities in water supply and irrigation. Recent interest in Bradfield Scheme concepts and variants have been further fuelled by projections of a drier future climate in south-eastern Australia, prolonged drought events such as the Millennium Drought (2001–2009) in southern and eastern Australia and the recent drought throughout northern and western Queensland (2014 to present). The Australian Government commissioned CSIRO, through the National Water Grid Authority, to undertake an independent, comprehensive desktop assessment of the technical and economic viability of the Bradfield Scheme and variants. These studies have taken a contemporary scientific approach to assess the technical feasibility and economic viability of the original 1938 scheme proposed by Dr John Bradfield, his 1942 variation and more recent proposals. At our disposal are tools that Dr Bradfield could only dream of. High-end computing to support complex modelling, remote sensing, and an ability to develop new engineering and modelling tools to solve and optimise the design, have allowed a level of objective assessment of the schemes, not previously feasible. The imagination and ingenuity of Dr Bradfield is admirable and this study considers his bold ideas on their merit. We know that the merits, or otherwise, of redirecting water in north Queensland rivers inland and south will continue to be debated and many people will have differing views. However, this study is presented to provide an objective scientific assessment to underpin those discussions.

Item ID: 76053
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: dams, irrigation, water diversion, northern Australia, hydrology, water security, inter-basin transfer, nation building
Related URLs:
Copyright Information: © Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 2020. To the extent permitted by law, all rights are reserved and no part of this publication covered by copyright may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means except with the written permission of CSIRO.
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2022 01:18
FoR Codes: 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380105 Environment and resource economics @ 40%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300299 Agriculture, land and farm management not elsewhere classified @ 30%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3707 Hydrology > 370799 Hydrology not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180305 Ground water quantification, allocation and impact of depletion @ 50%
15 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 1599 Other economic framework > 159999 Other economic framework not elsewhere classified @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 2
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page