NOT only do Hunter Water seem to be refusing to accept responsibility and fix the sewerage issues residents (pictured) have flagged in Hexham ('Pipe dream', Newcastle Herald 16/1) and Marketown ('Stink pipe', Herald 18/1), they in my opinion don't seem to be taking any responsibility for the deteriorating water quality in Seaham Weir and the Williams River ('Algae amber alert for Grahamstown Dam', Herald 2/12/20) where they operate the weir and pumping station which transfers the water from the river to Grahamstown Dam.
I believe Dungog Council has been frustrated that no government agency (including Hunter Water) appears in any hurry to want to address the problem and restore the river's rapidly-declining health, which has been documented for years. Hunter Water seems to want to put the region's water supplies at even more risk and the river system under even more stress by the inclusion of two new dams as options in determining the Lower Hunter Water Security Plan. Both dams would reduce river flows and draw even more water from the ailing Williams River system. A diversification of climate-independent sources of water is what is needed to secure our water supplies into the future, not dams.
Ken Edwards, Clarence Town
Dam planned infrastructure spend
THE latest Bureau of Meteorology Report proves that Hunter Water has a mediocre grade compared to other major water utilities, and it is obvious that it cannot maintain its existing system with leaks, odours, waste water/recycle options and stormwater flowing freely down our drains. Over the last few years a Hunter Water-led comprehensive community consultation process has voiced its opinion about more sustainable options and the utility becoming more efficient with what it has, but Hunter Water will not listen. Now Hunter Water wants to pour a billion dollars into a new dam. Perhaps this money could be redirected to those areas where the community have had to put up with foul odours and ageing infrastructure over the last few years.
Ken Kenip, Dungog
Tennis rules serve up can of worms
WHY is it that the human race thinks it is invincible? Despite all the warnings, people refuse to wear masks, refuse not to mass gather and still thumb their nose at self-care directives. They are being totally stupid about this deadly, unforgiving killer that has been forced upon us.
Why is it that these show pony tennis players think that they are above us mere mortals? They seem to think that if the Australian Open does not proceed, then the world will surely end. Again, why is it that our grossly uninformed government, still continuing to bring all of these high risk Australians back into the country? They know full well that they are probably infected. They chose to travel, they would or should have known the risk, but are still demanding entry. The government's only response should in my opinion be to cater for the health and well being of the majority, not the selfish, whinging minority that we see and hear about daily.
If the bleeding-hearted government wants to score points by bringing home these individuals, construct a large isolated camp somewhere far away from the ordinary John Citizen and isolate them for 28 days at their own expense. We are not a never-ending hole that money simply pours out of. If this is not addressed promptly, we could and probably will be as bad off as the rest of the world. Wake up, Australia; we are knee deep in the nasty situation and it must be addressed now.
Dennis Crampton, Swansea
Focus on government too much
I'M sorry, Newcastle Herald, but your bias in your cartoon on the opinion page is very obvious.You have the likes of Jodi McKay and Anthony Albenese to have a negative opinion on, and even my local missing member, but you seemingly choose only to pick on the conservative state and federal governments. You have so much material to use from those previous mentioned.
Tony Jones, Swansea
Transition thinking to open minds
I COULDN'T help but comment on brave Olivia Stewart and her awe-inspiring, supportive family that featured in the Sydney Morning Herald recently. A couple of years ago, my daughter had a transgender student in her year at school. Having started together in Year 1, it came as no surprise to anyone when the student came out as transgender and started her journey, similarly to Olivia with puberty blockers at 13 and now as a healthy, happy and totally socially adjusted 21-year old. She has completed her gender reassignment surgery and is moving on successfully with her life.
Anyone who would suggest that this journey is some sort of trendy lifestyle choice is in my opinion coming from a position of total ignorance and bigotry.
My daughter and this student also attended a co-ed Anglican school in Newcastle and the school, its staff, the students and the parents as a whole were magnificent in their support of this student during her journey. Bouquets and plaudits to the strong leadership from principal Erica Thomas.
Tony Bennett, Wollombi
We have the power in solar
AS a retired industrial electrician, I have noticed some of the negative claims made about renewables and grid stability and reliability. The sun shines every day, even on cloudy days. Solar panels produce power. In my case about 10 per cent of cloudless day production, which is more than 30 per cent of my normal demand. My system records show I would only need storage equal to one day's consumption to live a normal life off grid. AGL have published a good article regarding the evolution of battery storage and grid stability, Spotlight on Batteries. Their words are more informative than mine.
Dave Hamilton, Jewells
Power of SA example has waned
I USUALLY avoid the renewable energy debate as I don't know enough about it. I am certainly not able to comment on John Davies' detailed technical explanation of why renewables cannot provide certainty in terms of dispatchable electricity (Letters 18/1). However, I find it interesting that Mr Davies seems to rely on the SA blackout in September 2016 - almost four and a half years ago - as evidence of why electricity sourced from renewables will not be able to provide continuity of supply when we experience a total eclipse in July 2028, six and a half years from now.
I have more confidence than Mr Davies. Four and half years ago batteries were still in the development stage; now they have become an integral part of power storage and supply, with huge battery installation projects either completed, underway or planned for the near future. In six and a half years' time I have no doubt that pumped hydro systems will be in place. I am aware that detailed work is underway to overcome the dispatch problems on which Mr Davies bases his objections to renewables. And I suspect that Mr Davies may not be the only person who has identified the challenge of keeping the lights on during the solar eclipse in 2028. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if plans are in place already to deal with it.
John Ure, Mount Hutton
CONGRATULATIONS, City of Newcastle council. Sunday's clean ocean baths were a pleasant surprise and appreciated by throngs of visitors enjoying Newcastle's beachside environment. Keep it simple and encourage visitors to delight in nature's attractions. - we are blessed with many.
Joan Browning, Newcastle East
THE slogan "Make America Great Again" will have a chance of coming good now that Donald Trump is to leave the White House. He no doubt has been America's greatest president at dividing a country. In my opinion, he thought he was still a game show host. He fired his aides the same way he fired contestants on the TV Apprentice show. This just shows that a good slogan will fool lots of people for a while.
Ray Dean, Thornton
HOW in all of this assessment of Newcastle's architecture ('The good, the bad and the ugly', Newcastle Herald 11/1) was Frederick Menkins forgotten? What about the Longworth building in Scott Street and St Andrews Presbyterian church? He was clearly one of this city's finest architects.
Colin Rowlatt, Merewether
"THOSE who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." This quote has attributed to Voltaire way back in the 18th century. It came to mind watching the Trump-fuelled attack on the Capitol building last week in America.
Denise Lindus Trummel, Mayfield
MIKE Ryan, you're spot on. We never hear about pollution and environmental damage from so called sustainable renewable sources. I believe it's anti-coal for a simple reason: to allow an inferior product to compete in a market that brings profits to investors at the detriment of the nation. Why don't our protesters know about the environmental damage lithium extraction causes, killing river fish and destroying the environment? On top of that we have the rubbish and toxic leftovers. Unfortunately sensible people like yourself will be treated as a blasphemer.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
MAC Maguire (Short Takes 14/1) suggested that no Australian conservative politician had condemned the incident at the US Capitol complex and criticised Scott Morrison for taking leave. I recalled seeing the Prime Minister on the television news after the event and he was discussing the siege and issuing a number of travel warnings while commenting that it was "very concerning and most distressing".
David Stuart, Merewether
IF the American protesters don't like their democratic electoral system, they could relocate to Communist China and see if they find it better there.
John Bonnyman, Fern Bay
IF we can all vote in one day why can't we all get vaccinated in, say two days?