Something for nothing: is there no accounting for water - at least to taxpayers? #2
8th June 2010
Fair Water Use (Australia)
MISSING MURRAY INFLOWS: FEDERAL WATER MINISTER MUST DELIVER ON PROMISE
It is now evident that there will be no meaningful flows into the River Murray following record rains in much of the northern Darling catchment earlier this year. There have been no natural flows from the mouth of Australia’s largest river system since 2002.
The finger is being pointed at poorly regulated and possibly illegal surface-water diversions, constructed predominantly in the Darling catchment. It has been suggested that these vast “ring-tanks” have the capacity to prevent up to 1,500 billion litres of floodwater from entering the river system. The now disbanded Murray Darling Basin Commission estimated that these shallow storages are associated with evaporative losses of up to 50%. Total annual inflows into the entire Murray-Darling system have averaged only 4,150 billion litres in recent years.
National Coordinator of Fair Water Use, Ian Douglas, commented today, “In August 2008, the Commonwealth Government announced that it would provide detailed and regularly updated information on the scale of private diversions in the Murray-Darling Basin; to date no such data has been released”.
“At a meeting with Senator Wong earlier this year, Fair Water Use sought an assurance that this data would be produced as promised; unfortunately we received no such undertaking”, he added.
Dr Douglas concluded, “It is hard to understand how a Basin Plan that does not factor-in the total capacity of private storages can produce the outcomes that are necessary if the Murray-Darling river system is to be restored as a healthy river system, able to support its communities into the future”.
Fair Water Use urges Senator Wong to release this vital information, promised nearly two years ago.