As we watch the disturbing daily images of a dry Darling River, parched Menindee Lakes, millions of dead fish, and outback towns without drinkable water, both bush and city are screaming – Why?
Who is responsible they ask? Name the scapegoats and brand them criminals is demanded.
Any lesser response would be shameful, but some reactions, while understandable, are not rational.
Before we look more closely at why and how these unacceptable events have occurred, we need to put to rest some misconceptions about this river and recent claims made by some aboriginal people that the Darling was previously a “Mighty River” that always flowed.
It wasn’t. After discovery by English explorers Stuart and Hume in 1828, history kept at Menindee tells us it was bone dry there at least 48 times up to 1960 – something that no doubt also happened for hundreds of years before.
When John Howard announced in January 2007 that he was going to take over control of the Murray-Darling Basin and provide $10 Billion to do so, he had no idea of how this would happen, what needed to be done or how the money would be spent. He was responding to a series of wildly inaccurate claims made by a sensationalist driven media unconcerned with truth or reason. Continue reading “The Murray-Darling Basin Scam”
The current approach to managing the water resources of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) seems to be a classic case of “straining out gnats while swallowing camels”.
The Federal Government plans to return an additional 450 gigalitres of water “to the environment” as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) via $1.4 billion of taxpayers’ money to buy farmers’ water allocations and increase water efficiency. Already, 2100 GL of water has been diverted away from agricultural production to “environmental flows” as part of the MDBP.
A further 605 GL is being directed to the environment via water “savings measures”. Up to 70 per cent of water in reservoirs feeding the MDB is earmarked for “the environment”. One of the problems with diverting such large amounts of water away from food production and sending it down river is that there is no scientific basis to claims that the extra water is benefitting the environment. Quite the reverse, in fact.
The Saltbush Club has accused state and federal governments of wasting water often desperately needed everywhere west of Australia’s Great Dividing Range. The “Saltbush Water Watch” has been established to monitor government action and inaction and report on priorities.
The Executive Director of the growing Saltbush Club, Mr Viv Forbes, said “From Adelaide to Longreach we have allowed green subversives to prevent new dam construction and to dictate the waste of water caught in existing dams.”
“Without water conservation the Murray-Darling would turn back into a string of disconnected waterholes every big drought. More reliable fresh water has benefited humans and nature all along the river. Continue reading “Stop Wasting our Dam Water”
Not content with emptying most of the dams in the north of New South Wales under the pretext of maintaining “environmental flows”, and failing to store available water under the guise of “translucent flows,” the Green bureaucrats managing our lifeblood are now in the process of emptying our major dams in the south.
Hume Dam, the only dam on the Murray River and the major source of water for the whole Murray Valley, is now down to 40% of capacity (13th Dec 2018) and dropping rapidly.