WATER SHOULD BE IN DAMS
Who can remember the first meeting at the Yoogali Club of the Murray Darling Basin Plan? The gentleman who tried to explain that taking 42 per cent of water for the environment and how it was going to work and the farmers who were outside the club set fire to the Murray Darling Basin books.
Since that time we have had so many meetings of all those people who came to Griffith trying to explain how the MDBP was going to work, more water for the environment and those people who work for the MDBA received a salary.
They do not understand that farmers gamble with the weather.
Before the Basin Plan came about, we came through nine years of drought 2001 to 2010 then the rain came and everything came to life, the rice fields where thousands of frogs came to life and since rice has become to expensive to grow on account that the price of water is out of reach for farmers.
Interference on both sides of the federal government which took the right away from the states to manage water for the environment and irrigation.
On January 30, 2019 I picked up The Weekly Times and read: “the speculators are flooding into the Murray Darling Basin's Irrigation Market, snapping up water in the midst of drought, as the temporary water price surges to $700 a megalitre on the Murrumbidgee system and $500 on the Murray, investment companies have millions of dollars in buying up irrigation water.”
Do those people who are trading in water care about the environment or irrigators?
We have to remember that during the past months the MDBA has released water out of the dams for environmental flow, in the middle of a drought, water should have been kept in the dams.
Fran Pietroboni, Griffith
DROUGHT ISN’T THE PROBLEM
Two years ago I railed against the Murray-Darling Basin Authority for its poor river management which resulted in an unnecessary, catastrophic flood and a range of unacceptable environmental consequences.
Now we have the opportunity to question its ability to manage the resource and the river during a dry time.
The MDBA need to ‘fess up’ and start taking proactive steps to address the damage which has been caused over the past decade, instead of blaming everything else. Leadership is about accepting responsibility and providing unity and cohesive solutions in difficult times.
In a recent interview Phillip Glyde, MDBA CEO, said the Basin Plan was “trying to correct 100 years of over-allocation”.
The recent fish kills should be telling authorities that their management of the water resource over the past decade is making the system worse, not better.
In 94 of the 100 years that the system was supposedly ‘over-allocated’ there were recordings of fish kill deaths but none were of the magnitude of those we’ve seen recently, including the devastating event in the Menindee Lakes. Blackwater events have also increased.
Since 2009 there have been four major hypoxic blackwater events in the Edward and Wakool River systems, killing hundreds of thousands of native fish. The authorities first used flooding as their excuse, now drought is their excuse.
The only major change in the past 10 years, compared to the rest of the past century, has been the 2007 Water Act and the fact that the major owner of water is the Commonwealth Government. It used to be run by the states. It seems pretty obvious that’s where the problem lies.
The question needs to be asked, where has all the water gone? In late 2016 we had floods and most of the Basin was at 100 per cent capacity, with Menindee Lakes at 96.5 per cent.
Just over two years later these lakes are nearly empty and we have what is being termed a ‘natural’ disaster on a global scale. But it’s not a ‘natural disaster, it’s a man-made disaster. The trouble is, those responsible refuse to admit it.
I would ask all agricultural representative bodies - the NFF, NSW Farmers, National Irrigators, NSW Irrigators - to call for resignations of Mr Glyde as MDBA CEO and Neil Andrews as MDBA chairman.