November 1

Royal Commission Into Water Theft Iceberg For The Murray

Royal Commission Into Water Theft Iceberg For The Murray

Jay Weatherill, the South Australian Premier, announced last weekend. That a Royal Commission was being established to investigate violations of the Murray Darling Basin Agreement.

This is due to allegedly egregious behavior by some irrigators in New South Wales and state government regulators. The alleged theft in the Murray-Darling Basin of water is just one example of the institutional problems. Namely the captivity of powerful irrigation interests to take over state government agencies.

NSW is an example. The 1993 audit of the North west rivers of the Department of Water Resources revealed. The same thefts, meter-tampering, and questionable government oversight. This was exposed by the ABC’s Four Corners investigation.

Broken Hill and other communities have been unable to get water for the last half of their salt needs. Floodplain forests and wetlands of international importance continue to decline and the native fish and waterbird populations have plummeted.

Many values are at risk in the river system, which supplies water to over 3 million people and covers 77% of Australia’s landmass. It’s not just a few (alleged bad apples), it is the governance of water that is at risk.

Problems With The Current Royal Plan

While there is evidence of bad behaviour in NSW, it is more concerning that some state governments are preventing the implementation of the A$13Billion 2012-26 Basin Plan as well as associated programs to restore water to the river system.

The Basin Plan must release water in pulses if it is to improve river health and floodplain forest health along the lower Murray. This will ensure that the water can flow out of the river channel to flood wetlands.

It is not helpful for the Victorian Government in this context to propose flows that are half the size of those previously agreed upon because of objections from a few landowners along Goulburn River, which is part of its Goulburn key area project.

State governments upstream have rules that allow water to be purchase by taxpayers so that it can taken by irrigators as soon as it crosses state borders. They are not removing bottlenecks that stop managed floods safely traveling down rivers. They even suggested reducing the amount of water available to the environment below the minimum requirements.

Surprisingly, 30% are not meter at water extraction points within the Basin. The information collect not made public or audit to ensure that theft is punish.

Sustainable Management Required

The trust and cooperation between the federal, ACT, and responsible states is essential for the sustainable management of the Murray Darling Basin

This trust broken by the allege water theft in NSW, particularly for SA, which relies on the River Murray. The stalling in implementation of Basin Plan agreements and manipulation of rules that determine who gets what water, and when, also affects this trust.

Transparency is the foundation of trust. There are many ways to royal record water allocations online and increase trust. Implementation of the Plan can still be fix.

Yesterday’s report by the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists identified several solutions. These include measuring all water diversions and completing water recovery.

There are positive signs that political leadership is emerging. The Council of Australian Governments had promised June that it would deliver the Basin Plan royal in complete and on-time” in time for its scheduled commencement in 2019.

Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister, reaffirmed his commitment to Basin Plan implementation by the federal government. He supported the broad recommendations of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority‚Äôs Basin-wide Compliance Review, which aimed to strengthen water laws enforcement and the Basin Plan’s implementation and to recover any remaining environmental water.

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Posted November 1, 2021 by admin in category "Uncategorized