Saturday 19th of October 2019

Australian Water

Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention lately, being unemployed and constantly worrying about getting food on the table, but what happened to all the stuff about improving the Murray Darling and "drought proofing Australia"? Surely that wasn't just hype by the Federal government , was it?

I think maximising our water supply is one thing that should be monitored by the feds rather than the states, and provision of water should not be privatised.

Murray-Darling update

A lot has been happening and we largely have the Wentworth group (who don't have a site or I'd link you, but you can find their stuff here ) to thank for it.

Yep, work has continued on the perpetual problem of the Murray-Darling. In fact, enormous amounts have been done. Some time ago allocations from the system were capped. Then there was a report, released recently, looking at how much water should be returned to the system to ensure its sustainability. An important benchmark used to measure that was 10 (I think) significant biodiverse and/or iconic habitats along the river system that must be kept alive. They are located throughout the system from Qld, Vic, NSW and SA, and include keeping the Murray mouth open & the related RAMSAR wetlands alive.

The last I heard the decision was to put a pretty substantial number of megaliters back into the system, but I've forgotten how many; now the negotiations with major users will need to begin, review of infrastructure etc. It won't return the Murray to a pefectly healthy, 'natural' system. The point for getting back there has passed. But what has been agreed by the 5 state & territory governments & the Feds is to aim to restore it to a healthy river, and to compromise no further on it's chief ecological assets. Probably like me you'd like to see better than that, and I'll be watching closely because the devil is always in the detail, but it's a start.

There was also an agreement recently to put a further $500 million back into the Murray.

All the work that has been done is pretty much publicly available - here.

I'll do a separate post on other water policy.

Murray Darling System

The Murray Darling spans half the continent through the Eastern States and is reduced to a state of fragility by monstrous irrigation projects starting in Queensland and going all the way into SA. Pollys are good at talking about what will be or should be done but nothing gets done. And one of the worst things in my opinion is the recently conferred ability for water rights to be a marketable commodity.