A flood is coming. The forecast flow downstream of Yarrawonga is estimated to reach 50–60,000 megalitres per day (split between Tuppal and Bullatale Creeks and the Murray River) and the Goulburn has had minor flooding, with flows of 21,000 megalitres a day.
Ironically, in front of this flow, is also a Commonwealth Environmental Water flow delivering environmental water into the Barmah-Millewa Forest, and the Moira grass plains and small patches of river red gums.
The current dam spill will perform the same environmental function, though it’s not considered ‘environmental water’, it is unregulated flow.
Our food producers now face what is an allocation drought during a flood event.
The third-party impacts on water licences have never been more apparent, the very same class of licences also owned by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, purchased with billions of dollars of taxpayer funds.
How can this be? Maybe it is the huge volume of carryover that now NEVER SPILLS.
Carryover was once left over allocations, first implemented as a security measure, and when stored in the dam, always sat on top, first to spill. Now many classes of carryover actually have priority over water licences!
It gets worse, here is a few examples,
- The Commonwealth can also park environmental water from the Darling River in Hume dam;
- Water traders can now park water almost indefinitely, effectively restricting supply;
- Other states who maintain 100% allocation in a ‘very dry scenario’ are allowed 100% carryover;
- Carryover water is socialised, a 50% carryover limit is not per licence holder, it is per class of licence;
- The ability to ‘park allocations’ as carryover from very different classes of licences, high security once had no carryover because it was HIGH security, allocated first.
The statistics are staggering, we appear to be a nation run by fools!
To this end, I encourage people to safely document the flood about to take place. Pick a spot with a landmark and take photos before, during and after, and record dates and flows.
This flow event will just be a taste of what the true desired flow volumes are. The goal still remains of 80,000 megs a day at the SA border and NSW will help aid this through the Reconnecting River Country Program. Maybe that is why they want endless carryover for a bulk catch and dump?
What were we saving again and where the bloody hell are those who profess to act for our environment, industries and communities!?
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 9 September 2021.