The Victorian government’s dream of creating a limitless supply of fresh water was dealt a potentially fatal blow yesterday when international bodies and the government of Greece were awarded an injunction halting construction of the world’s largest desalination plant and associated water theme park.

The surprising turn of events was triggered last Friday when a team of divers from the AquaSure consortia discovered unusual ancient ruins and the body of French maritime explorer Jacques Cousteau.

At the time the contractors were attempting to refloat several dozen pieces of heavy earth moving equipment which where submerged after the site was flooded by spring rains.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Greek government responded to the find by seeking an injunction to halt further construction pending detailed archaeological investigations.

And in a blow to the Brumby government the interim report released by the UN in New York early this morning reveals that the buildings and artifacts recovered from the floor of the 19 square kilometer fresh water lake that now covers the construction site are those of the Lost City of Atlantis.

The discovery has not only come as a shock to the Brumby government, which had planned to highlight its promise to convert Bass Strait into a sea of drinking water as part of its re-election campaign, but it has also surprised European nations and archaeologists around the world.

Atlantis is believed to have sunk into the Mediterranean some time before the death of Plato (348BC).

The Greek sage recalled in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias that he had left his best toga in an Anatolian bathhouse in Atlantis and that the calamity had forced him to attend Aristotle’s wedding in rented attire.

In 1938 Germany’s Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler claimed he had tracked Atlantis’s Jews to Tibet while a more credible theory has been proposed by Australia’s leading historian of submarine societies and the Head of the Filtered, Sparkling and Distilled Water Division at the Vote Smart Democracy Institute, Emeritus Professor Festus Scrötal, who argues in a recently published book that the inhabits of Atlantis probably drifted south in search of abundant supplies of brown coal.

The UN and Greek government last night issued statements saying they would now move to have the area declared a World Heritage Listed site.

This would effectively prohibit any further construction on the 5 square kilometer desalination facility and adjoining Burke and Wills Water World Theme Park.

Meanwhile, the French government of Nicolas Sarkozy has confirmed that the body found by divers sitting on Neptune’s chair was that of Jacques Cousteau and Paris has subsequently lodged a claim of French sovereignty over a 130-kilometer stretch of the south Gippsland coast.

Interrupting his weekly ménage e-trois with wife Carla Bruni and a gardener named Pepe, Sarkozy said that the discovery of Cousteau was cause for wide spread celebration in France as it brought to a successful conclusion the 238-year struggle to realize the French explorer Louis Francois Marie Aleno de Saint Aloüarn’s 1772 claim to sovereignty over portions of the Australian mainland.

But while archaeologists were celebrating the immanent solution to the 2,300-year-old mystery on the whereabouts of Atlantis, the Brumby government was fuming at the news with both the Premier and the Planning Minister saying they would challenge the UN’s decision in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The halt to construction has come at a bad time for the Brumby government which is already fending off criticisms from a coalition of engineers that its decision to locate the desalination plant in the centre of the world’s wettest fresh water catchment area was fundamentally flawed.

Despite twelve months of construction none of the plant’s 200 foundations have been completed due to problems with the natural quicksand that covers the area handpicked for the site by Water Minister Tim Holding.

Holding was unavailable for comment with staff saying he had gone home to compose himself after failing, for the third time, to pass the test for a submarine licence.

The Premier also rejected criticism of the government’s failure to consider advice from the local indigenous community, the Bun Wurrung people, in whose language “Wonthaggi” means, “lost city at the bottom of the sea”.

Bun Wurrung elder Lars Thergeld said that for 150 years his people had tried to tell white people that there was an ancient city buried beneath the site subsequently chosen to host the desalination plant.

“All they did was offer us beads and herd us into churches at gunpoint,” he said.

In late breaking news the Brumby government has said that confusion over the fate of the desalination plant would not interfere with its plan to build an under water rail link between Wonthaggi and the Tasmanian town of Burnie.

Emeritus Professor Festus Scrötal told Vote Smart that the Premier’s vision of Bass Strait as a giant fresh water lake remained sound and that the rail link was essential to maximize the plan’s commercial benefits and to allow for the next stage in the development of the Myki ticketing system – waterproof swipe machines.

Scrötal also predicted the project would require the compulsory acquisition of up to 50 homes and temples in Atlantis.

The Premier said that UNESCO and the Greek government would be offered a "fair market price" and that under Victorian law they did not have the right to refuse sale.

Source: Free Press Release [October 10, 2010]