Water conservation peaked in Australia in 1972 – our last big dam was Burdekin Falls Dam in Queensland built 32 years ago.
Elsewhere in Australia, water conservation virtually stopped when Don Dunstan halted the building of Chowilla Dam on the Murray in 1970 and Bob Brown’s Greens halted the Franklin Dam in 1983 (and almost every other dam proposal since then).
The Darling River water management disaster shows that we now risk desperate water shortages because our population and water needs have more than doubled, and much of our stored water has been sold off or released to “the environment”.
However, we regularly see floods of water being shed by the Great Dividing Range, most of it ending up in the Pacific Ocean, while somewhere to the west of that watershed is in severe drought. Then, under what should be called “The Flannery Plan for Water Conservation”, after letting flood waters run into the sea, they build squillion-dollar desalination plants to get water back from the sea.
Numerous dead fish now floating down the Darling River and in the Menindee Lakes is more evidence that the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has mismanaged the basin, as the CEC has long documented. So-called “environmental flows” since the MDBA’s notorious “Basin Plan” commenced in 2012 have flushed precious water into swamps and out to sea, and in the process caused riverbank erosion previously never seen. Now there’s no water left when it’s needed most! And the failure to build the Clarence River Scheme—which has been on the books in some form since at least the early 1920s—means that water from the flash flooding that hit the Clarence Valley in October 2018 did not get to flow down the Darling River. Continue reading “Fish kill shows Murray-Darling Basin Authority failure”
Practical Management of
The Darling River:
by Ron Pike Jan 2019.
The management of the Darling River and its vast catchment must be vested with ONE authority; not six or seven as is the present case. We can for now call it “The Darling River Authority” (DRA).
The Darling River and its catchment must be removed from the MDB (Murray-Darling Basin) Plan. There never was any need for water from the Darling to be tagged for use in SA. Management of flows in the lower Murray can come from much larger and more reliable sources.
The DRA must be legally bound to manage the water in the Darling system on the following basis.
First priority for available water every year is maintenance of all of river flow in sufficient volume to supply all stock and domestic needs along with all Municipal requirements.In managing the quantum to be held in storage to meet this First Priority, at least two years supply of water must be accounted for in upstream storages, including delivery losses.
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.