Abstract

Australia's so-called “Dead Heart,” its hot arid interior landscape, can be brought into irrigated agricultural production with the importation of extracontinental freshwater supplies originating in Papua New Guinea. Despite Queensland's La Niña-caused historic and costly 2010 to 2011 river flooding induced, in great part by tropical cyclone Yasi, its westernmost torrid region is classed as arid, currently almost without any irrigation agriculture present. Freshwater importation from Papua New Guinea's Fly River via an undersea pipeline mostly skirting the Torres Strait could increase the value of Queensland's little-used dryland Outback and, perhaps, establish new overseas markets in Asia for exported agricultural products. An induced perennial Diamantina River could replenish groundwater recharge regions (Great Artesian Basin) and convert Lake Eyre to a permanent lake of slightly brackish water. Irrigated eucalyptus tree plantations might serve, in part, to counter some Earthly global warming. The Torres Strait Islanders will benefit economically as well as other social groups on the mainland of Papua New Guinea. Here we examine closely some of the technical aspects of a Papua New Guinea-Queensland (PNG-QLD) Undersea Freshwater Pipeline Macroproject (UFPM) installation. We offer a choice of two routings for the PNG-QLD UFPM (Case A) while at the same time making clear our informed preference.

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