Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Water Trading - should it be stopped?

I am not going to be making a lot of friends with this one and I would also like to hear from anyone who reads this in the form of a comment or opinion.

It is my humble opinion that water trading is indeed the one thing that has finally exacerbated the whole dilemma of the Murray Darling Basin and should be suspended immediately.

It is also my opinion that the water of the system belongs to the Crown. Any property certainly has an asset in the form of the allocation that attaches to that property and the allocation may well be able to be transferred with the property itself. The asset takes the form of that property being able to draw an allocation from the River. I am not sure how this license ever became a tradeable commodity.

If a property ceases to operate or draw from the River then I believe that the License to draw water reverts to the Crown.

So why do I believe this - the infrastructure that has been built that allows for the Rivers to flow has been built by Governments and therefore funded by the Crown and therefore the Taxpayer. The Government therefore owns all of the water and only allows a license.

The day that we allowed the water trade to take effect was the day that the over allocation took its toll. Water that had been allocated and not used was now being drawn from the River.

It is therefore my strong opinion that a) Water Trading should cease forthwith, and b)all Water should revert to Crown ownership and all parties that draw from the River should reapply for a license to draw water based on demonstrable need.The allocation can then be allocated on a much more equitable and workable basis.

The problem areas will be quickly identified and there may well be a need to assist those that have acquired massive amounts of water to extricate themselves from debt and seek to change the income earning structures that have been falsely allowed to grow in areas where perhaps they should not. In truth it is the only way we can possibly return an equitable use of this limited resource. The need to protect the environment and economy can indeed work but it will need only occur if decisive action is taken.

I encourage you to comment on this article.


Murfomurf said...

I think water trading is a sham and costs more time and money than it's worth- and I'm not convinced it affects volumes in the river. Money for solicitors and agents- that's it.

Jarrah said...

"the infrastructure that has been built that allows for the Rivers to flow has been built by Governments"

Are you serious? You think rivers won't flow without government infrastructure?

JimBob51 said...

Thank you Jarrah - I do appreciate your comment. The Murray Darling and particularly The Darling was and still is an intermittent River. Before the "government" infrastructure consistent flows in the basin simply relied on the weather. The Snowy Mountains Scheme apart from being established for Hydro Electric Generation was also set up to manage the Head Waters of not just the Murray and Murrumbidgee but also the Snowy River. In fact environmentally we have huge lessons to learn from the mismanagement of the Snowy River itself. Without the infrastructure there would not have been enough water to even get this far. Projects like Lake Eildon are also massive infrastructure programs that have assisted in the ability for Agriculture and Horticulture to have been developed in the areas adjacent to the Rivers. The whole economies of the Murray Valley,Riverina,Sunraysia and Riverland of SA amongst others have have been developed around the advent of this infrastructure. Without the infrastructure they simply will die. The issue is not the infrastructure it has been the indiscriminate over allocation of the resource. Before Water Trade there was a very large unused proportion of the allocation process. As soon as we allowed Water Trade that unused over allocation was brought in to play and instantly brought the whole system to its knees. There has to be action to undo the travesty or whole townships along the River and the multi billion dollar GDP input generated will just stop. If that economy is not carefully managed believe me the Global crisis will look like child's play compared to what this system means to Australia

Anonymous said...

It's a bit late to stop water trading now. If you did you would basically write South Asutralia off the map.

A more appropriate question might be should water trading have ever been allowed in an already over allocated system?

Silver said...

The privatisation of water in other countries has only been a disaster for the environment and for the poor. All that happens is that the rich end up with the money and the water and the poor end up being refugees. Some countries are trying to reverse the privatisation. Australia is nuts to go down this path.