Monday, 25 October 2010

Plug the Pipe: Melbourne should give water back to the Murray Darling Basin for environmental flows

The latest from Plug the Pipe and Jan Beer:

PLUG the PIPE Supporters are asked to assemble at 12.00pm at the Sofitel, 25 Collins St, Thursday, 28th Oct 2010 - Bring Signage.

Stand with Jan Beer and Plug the Pipe at the Murray Daling Basin Authorities Community Information Session in MELBOURNE
The simple message to the MDB Authority is the Brumby Government are sucking environmental water out of the Goulburn. PUT A PLUG IN THE PIPE and don't take 75 billion litres of water from the Murray Darling Basin.
Venue: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, 25 Collins Street
Time : 2pm-5pm, Thursday 28th October 2010 for information session. 12.00pm for PTP gathering.
Contact Jan Beer if you are attending 0407 144 777


17th October 2010

The Brumby Government last week quietly removed a further 10 billion litres of environmental water from the Murray Darling Basin for Melbourne’s future use. This water was part of the super high security Water Quality Reserve kept as emergency water in Eildon Weir in case of blue-green algae outbreak, fish kills or sewerage spills.

On 13th October Premier Brumby re-badged this water as now being allocated to Sugarloaf Reservoir for Melbourne’s usage via the North-South Pipeline. This effectively removes a further 10 billion litres of water from the Murray Darling Basin system.

The Victorian Government doggedly stated intention is to remove 75 billion litres of Goulburn water each and every year to Melbourne from the Murray Darling Basin.

At precisely the same time of this latest allocation of Goulburn water for Melbourne, the Guide to the Murray Darling Basin Plan was released calling for the restoration of health to our river systems by reducing irrigation water used for food production by up to 45%.

The frightened communities of the Basin should be outraged and incensed at the continued extraction of this environmental water as several of Melbourne’s water storages are full and overflowing and have been for months.
Maroondah Reservoir is full and spilling over 125 million litres per day, O’Shannassy is full and currently spilling 220 million litres per day and Sugarloaf Reservoir is as full to capacity as it can go, while a flood warning was issued for the Yarra River late Saturday.

The volume lost to Melbourne’s water supply will increase by a further 3-4 billion litres in the next couple of days due to the spillage from Maroondah and O’Shannassy Dams, the inability of the Yering Gorge pumps to capture the latest stormwater due to the inadequate storage capacity of Sugarloaf resulting from the 24.1 billion litres of Goulburn water already pumped from the North-South pipeline.

This volume lost is on top of the 60 GL that could have been captured from the Yarra into Sugarloaf in the last 2½ months for Melbourne’s water supply with an additional set of 1,200 ML/day capacity pumps at Yering Gorge. This amount of harvestable water would still have allowed a similar amount of water to continue downstream as environmental flow, equivalent to a mean daily flow around 800 million litres per day over those 2½ months, more than four times the minimum environmental flow.

While all this is going on the Victorian Water Minister Tim Holding in The Weekly Times 13th October 2010 (Cuts Won’t Wash) called for an end to simply stripping basin communities of their most valuable asset.

This is hypocrisy of the highest order, considering the Minister is personally ordering water to be sucked out of the Goulburn River via the North-South Pipeline. And even worse every drop that he has already extracted was environmental water previously destined for the health of the Murray Darling Basin.

I call on Mr. Hardman, local member for the Seymour electorate, which contains the North-South Pipeline to stand up to his boss, and protest against this outrage on behalf of the people he represents and for the benefit of all rural communities and the health of the Murray Darling Basin.

Jan Beer : 0417 144 777

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