11 February, 2015

Murray Darling Basin Plan

My thoughts, in brief, provoked by recent press comment and the ABC Landline TV programme-
  • water shortage environmental impacts in the Millenium Drought were caused (mostly) by lack of run-off -the natural impact of drought-not by "over allocation".(Not to mention the Lower Lakes fiasco of not allowing sea water to enter).
  • the very wet years that followed did much natural recuperative work and following the drought are a classic example of the natural variability of the basin, which is its central characteristic.
  • The Government (CEWH) bought entitlements -"phantom water"-not real water. This remains phantom water until such time as there are allocations. By way of example the current Macquarie and Lachlan issues appear to mainly relate to lack of allocations.
  • the Darling catchment (as distinct from the Murray) is again suffering extreme drought particularly in run-off terms.
  • the massive variability of our run-off largely dictates water availability, particularly in the Darling catchment and our storages, whilst very beneficial, really only "fiddle at the edges".
  • Richard Kingsford will say anything to support his anti-irrigation stance.
  • given the massive variability, setting single figure SDL's, even if they are averages, is nonsense.
  • the Murray Darling Basin Plan is an academic, impracticable "dog's breakfast" which will do huge damage to productive capacity and "bugger all" for the environment.