Monday, October 11, 2010

The Murray Darling Basin Report

It is of course with great interest that we all have now seen the infamous report. It is also interesting that at this time the economic modelling attached to this has not been released but as the Chairman pointed out his term of reference hinged very largely on the environmental requirements of the river.

How does a report that is so hamstrung by its terms of reference mean anything at all when the economic model is clearly so fundamentally wrong. Until the Federal Government takes total control of the Basin a balance point of view can never be gained.

The primary production issues of the Murray Darling Basin must be taken into account and if we place any credence in Julian Cribb and his assertions in His Publication the Coming Famine we simply cannot afford to be short sighted on these issues.

The issues are much wider and deeper than what this report actually tries to address. Our new Minister for Sustainability will need to urgently consider how we are going to genuinely feed and water our own burgeoning population. It is stated that our population will grow in excess of 400,000 per annum ( I believe that is conservative and will accelerate quite quickly) let alone foreign investment viewing a vast expanse of unpopulated areas (regardless of their sustainability) and this is evidenced by the amount of Rural Property that is being purchased by Asian Interests. Believe me they will just throw money at the problems as they recognise their own inability to house and feed their own burgeoning populations. (China is growing at the rate of approximately 1 million per quarter).

Of course we must consider the environment but we seem to conveniently forget that our major River system prior to the advent of locks and dams was fairly intermittent at best and many of our wetlands would dry out regularly anyway.

Clearly we have over allocated and this must be addressed. It is my opinion that water trading only exacerbated the problem and not even sure how we allowed that to happen that water could be traded at all let alone separately from the property. I really believe that water allocations should be nothing more than a licence to draw water that can then be managed by the Authority. Trading only assures that all allocation is drawn.

We really must find additional water for the whole of the eastern system. Today the Wivenhoe in Queensland is full and water is being allowed to escape to the sea by the gigalitre.

I still believe every river on the eastern seaboard needs to be connected by pipeline and every reservoir and dam filled from flood water. If we achieved this all the way from Cape York to Wilson’s Promontory then these dams could ensure water supply for our major population centres and be used to direct flow in to tributaries of the Murray Daring Basin. If major storages like Warragamba (Currently 55%) Lake Eucumbene (currently 30%) Lake Eildon (Currently 57%). And this does not even begin to consider the amount of storage that is currently under capacity. And yet flood waters go out to see daily.

Yes the project is huge and will cost a lot but it sure makes for one hell of a stimulus package for the good of all Australians. When the Minerals run out we still want to export food.

Hydro stations could be built into the system to power the pumping required and also add additional green energy to the grids of Australia.

“We need men who can dream of things that never were and ask "why not?”. JFK
The report as it stands is severely under done and needs a much bigger overview before we hurt Australia irrevocably.

If all were full from flood waters then security would be a given and again we could feed the head waters of various tributaries of the Murray Darling Basin.

Step 1. Remove Open Channels in the Murray Valley and Riverina
Step 2. Do the works promised on Meninindee Lakes
Step 3. Review every water allocation along the river and see what is really required not just mass selfish expectation
Step 4. Start a new project that would see every River and Reservoir being utilised sensibly to their maximum and ensuring we capitailse on years like this that have seen a lot of water wasted to the whole Sustainable Australia Need


Charlie said...

good dot points Jimbo... what are your thoughts re the Coorong - ie the opening of the murray mouth... xc

JimBob51 said...

Some of the other ideas that are being offered for the Coorong like pumping from the South East Drains are good. Before the barrages the mouth was often closed anyway and would choose itself a new opening every time the flood came down. Granted that was annually. That is why we need to find more water for the river and yes some allocation must be returned to the river.All I am saying is our ideas need to get bigger and to hell with the cost.

Susan said...

This informative website advocates restoring the Lower Lakes to estuaries, basically reconnecting the Lakes to the Coorong. This will provide a solution for the Lower Lakes in time of drought that even this new basin plan does not address.

Quite a few ideas here with links to reports and media articles. Cheers!

Murfomurf said...

I hear Bernard Booth real estate has bought up a swathe of water rights along the Murray... great investment, the old money-grabber.
Seriously- where is the actual model of the Murray-Darling? Can people put some test data into it? Can you generate alternatives from it and see which optimises flow under what conditions? Since ordinary humans couldn't get the data, it might be nice if they let us play with the model to satisfy ourselves about the proposed solutions.