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Tuesday, 9 April 1957


Mr CASEY - I shall be glad to do so. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, a year or two ago, evolved what has become known as the Mansfield method. It is named after a scientist in the Industrial Chemistry Division of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization at Fishermen's Bend. This has resulted in the possibility of formidable reductions of the evaporation of standing water in Australia. In the last year at least, the Mansfield system has been applied - I think in all parts of Australia - to small areas of standing water of up to about two acres. I think it has been outstandingly successful, particularly in the hotter parts of Australia, where evaporation is frequently very great. Until lately, there has been difficulty in discovering a method of applying the process to large areas of standing water, such as are used bv water supply authorities in various parts of Australia. Now a method has been evolved. It has been tried out over the last few months at Broken Hill by the Broken Hill Water Board and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. The water storage area for Broken Hill ' covers about 1,000 acres. Over three or four months the application of the Mansfield method has resulted in the saving of about 200.000,000 gallons of waterenough to last the town of Broken Hill for about six weeks in the heat of the summer. That represents a decrease in evaporation of about 37 per cent. That figure has been agreed between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and the Broken Hill Water Board as representing the approximate result that has been achieved. The chemical that is used for this purpose is called hexadecanol. It is a derivative of sperm whale oil, and is quite cheap. Only very small amounts are needed. It is completely tasteless and harmless to both humans and stock. I regard this discovery as of first-class importance. It has attracted notice in many other parts of the world. Indeed, my mail has been made almost hideous by an influx of letters from the United States of America, South Africa, India and other places. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has produced a pamphlet on the subject, which 1 shall be glad to send to any honorable member who happens to be interested. I believe that this process has a great potential, particularly, perhaps, for the water supply authorities of the towns and cities of Australia, because it will extend the life of existing water supplies and probably save those authorities considerable capital expenditure in the provision of additional water supplies as the population dependent on them increases. At a very modest estimate, and in the very broadest terms, the value of the Mansfield process to Australia can be put at some tens of millions of pounds a year at least, and, of course, at a vastly greater amount for the world. I believe that this process, which has been evolved by a not very senior officer of the Industrial Chemistry Division of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization at Fishermen's Bend, will rank with some of the great achievements of the organization from the stand-point of its economic value to Australia and the world.







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