Saturday, March 29, 2014


The article in TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN NEWS VOL. 1301, APR 19, 2011 was titled Tamborine Mountain’s groundwater goes under microscope: but does it tell the story of water on Springbrook?

There is one thing that the Association has always found to be consistent over the years - studies in other regions cannot be simply applied to Springbrook as if everything might be the same, such are the unique qualities of this plateau. One expects that matters to do with water will be no different. Water, its source/s, remains an enigma. That this high rocky region fringed by escarpments can have such quantities of water constantly flowing over its cliffs seems counter to everything one feels about fluids.

A reading of the Tamborine study does not fill one with confidence. It seems to think of water as something static with limited, predictable flows. One has to ask if 100-year-old water just sat there waiting for a bore: then what? The research illustrates the rigours of the rational, scientific mind at work. Turning realities into percentages that sound authoritative is so easy. The strategy can be very misleading. We all know how pollsters speak to only a few hundred people to get the certainty of statistics that declare, e.g. 68% of the population to be . . . anything . . . colourblind/heterosexual/ . . . (fill this gap).

What happens to water on Springbook needs to be carefully studied and reviewed. One can recall the astonishment of all when, in the excavation for an in-ground house at Springbrook, a conduit of water began flowing vigorously after rain. Out of the soft sticky clay cutting, itself a display of marvellous earth colours, came a perfect tube of water about seventy-five millimeters in diameter that flowed full force for days as though from a spout. It was beautiful. What this was; where; why; etc. is not known. It was not in fractured rocks, but had a veracity that amazed. What did it connect? Where did it go? Where was it from? What else could there be that we might never have thought of or expected?

One has to expect the unexpected on Springbrook. Just look at the number of new species both in flora and fauna found recently. We should anticipate nothing less of our understanding of water - that we might be surprised. The danger with science is that it so frequently finds only what it is looking for. We need research that creatively explores un-thought-of possibilities; research that can accommodate the totally unexpected rather than confirm known patterns with percentages. Here one thinks of Buckminster Fuller who pointed out how one might never expect, e.g. excrement from a camel, without seeing it fall.

We need to look with open minds and eyes, for this is Springbrook - springs and brooks that flow off a high rocky plateau in what seems to be greater quantities than any collection from downpours and dripping mists. To just keep pumping out water on the basis of a study carried out in another place seems to be putting too much faith in the hard logic of reason that expects similarity rather than difference, rarely anything new.

We have to learn about what we are dealing with at this special World Heritage place. Without knowledge and understanding we are truly working in the dark - the dark ages of “She'll be right mate. Bugger off. We know best” when we truly know nothing at all other than best guesses and surmises.

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