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This is a little piece on why Nauru is more problematic then the coalition OR the government are saying. 


Total Area 21 km2
Land 21 km2
Water 0 km2
Highest Elevation  61m

Land Use

Arable 0%
Perm. Crop 0%
Other 100% (2005)


Population 11,528 (July 2007 est.)
Population Growth Rate 1.781% (2007 est.)


GDP per capita (PPP) $5,000 (2005 est.)

Water Statistics

2,090 mm per annum
Status of Water Resources
Sources of freshwater for Nauru’s island communities are restricted to:
  • Rainwater
  • Imported water
  • Shallow unconfined groundwater (generally within less than 2 m of the surface)
  • Desalination (one large evaporative desalination plant and four small RO desalination plants).

Problems with Water Resources and Associated Environment Issues

The major issues and concerns are as follows:

  • There is not a secure supply of drinking water available to maintain health and wellbeing;
  • High energy input is required for the desalination plants
  • There may already be over-extraction of groundwater around the Bottom side
  • There is some contamination of the groundwater occurring now, even though it is the best source of future water supply
  • The sustainable yield of the groundwater has not been determined (but a study is planned for the near future)
  • There is a need to control the discharge of wastewater adjacent to wells used to extract non-potable water and to upgrade local sanitation practices to composting-type toilets or similar arrangements
  • There is very little monitoring or information collection on water quantity and quality, and hence no strong base for future planning
  • There has been very little investigation of the environmental implications of the changes in land use and water use on the island
  • Droughts have a major effect on the supply of water – particularly for roof water catchments
  • There is a need for improved water governance and local skills
  • Land and water ownership are still to be resolved for groundwater extraction.
And that is not the only service in trouble.
Electricity Production
Electricity Consumption

That is they have the capacity for 31 million kWh and they are currently using 28.83 kWh. That means they have the scope for less then 2.2kWh capacity left.

Heaps you might say. Except the current population is around 12,000. If we send them 2000 asylum seekers, then that is a 16% capacity increase. They don’t have the electricity. If the send 1000 then that is still a 8% capacity increase.

Even if they only send 500, then that is still a 4% capacity increase. Oh you say. That is fine as the 2.2 unused capacity is actually 7% of the power output of the generators. Except one thing. You never get full capacity from a generator.

You lose output transferring it using a network such as telegraph poles. Further, to be safe, Nauru actually needs to keep 10% plus in reserve so if a generator blows, another can be brought on line while it is fixed.

If you also look at the charts, you see a 30% drop in consumption at around the time Australia closed the processing centre. And the following year, when we took the generator back, they were back at capacity.

The real reason why Nauru is not an option is it puts impositions on an already struggling infrastructure. And while we can flash money at them, it is not beneficial for the nation as a whole to stress their infrastructure at capacity.

And lets not forget. Nauru has 0% arable land so Abbott wont be able to use soil carbon offsets.

A. Ghebranious   2011  (All Rights Reserved)

  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    Wow not good news.

  2. Well researched, Ash.

    I’ve had similar reservations about Nauru since the previous Pacific Solution when all these problems were brought to the fore.

    In addition to the water and electricity problems, they have public services that frequently go on strike due to non payment of wages, meaning that, at times, there are no doctors or nurses on staff at the hospital, no police on the streets and no mail being delivered. Even then, the hospital is ill-equipped to deal with complex medical cases and these are often sent elsewhere, usually Australia, for treatment.

    Also, I understand that Telstra have cut them off for non payment of the phone line rental on more than one occasion, meaning that residents on the island – as well as any visitors – are cut off from the rest of the world.

    Not a good look by anyone’s measure, and yet this is what the Opposition are telling us is the secret to solving the AS problem.

    Biggest questions to be asked: why are the Opposition pushing this so hard and with such urgency? Why does Nauru want it so badly when it is insisting it doesn’t need the money it will generate? Why does this need to happen NOW, rather than waiting 2 1/2 to the time that the Libs may be in government when they can do it for themselves? What is going on in Nauru that we aren’t being told about?

    • Thanks. I would like to say this took a long time to research, but it did not. Took about 5 minutes. I was hoping someone in the main stream media would pick it up when they made mention that Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison also toured the infrastructure facilities at Nauru.

      I waited and waited and saw nothing so I wrote it up this morning.

  3. debbiep permalink

    Great work, !

    Its impressive when bloggers are more informative than msm journo’s.

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