The Australian state of Victoria is looking into following its neighbours into implementing cloud seeding to help refill its dams, which currently average around fifty-percent full.
Cloud seeding is a geoengineering project which injects particles into super-cold water laden clouds, thereby increasing the rain- and snow-falls.
Dr Steven Siems, a scientist with Monash University, is currently concluding his climate modelling study looking at the benefits of cloud seeding over Victoria’s alpine region.
Siems says that Victoria has commissioned scientific research into the possibility of cloud seeding. “They wanted to make sure that the conditions existed not only in Victoria but specifically over the catchments of interest,” he noted, adding that “the aim is really focused over the Victorian Alps; that would naturally mean potable water.”
As to whether cloud seeding for the purpose of increasing drinking water would introduce unwanted chemicals into the drinking supply, Siems has yet to see “any evidence to suggest that there is any danger in the build-up of the material in the drinking water.”
Additionally, in New South Wales, north of the Victorian border, Snowy Hydro has found that cloud seeding resulted in a fourteen-percent increase in showers of snow and rain.
“It is proven that it has a positive impact on snowfalls, that it has not had any detrimental impact on down-wind rainfall and also that it hasn’t had a detrimental environmental impact,” said Steve Whan, the local member for the Monaro district.
“It is certainly used for town drinking water down the way and of course it is diluted with a lot of other rainfall from around the region but there is no indication that the elements that are used in the cloud seed is having any negative impact.”