Friday, September 30, 2022

CATEGORY

Murray River

Strategy Group’s ‘positive’ meeting with Minister

The Murray Regional Strategy Group (MRSG) has been buoyed by positive engagement with new federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek ...MRSG Chair, Geoff Moar, said it was a positive meeting and that, “We felt we covered more ground today than we have in a very long time ... The minister understands that we do not support more water buybacks from our region, and also acknowledged there are a number of problems which need a flexible approach if they are going to be fixed.”

Governments risk repeated ‘preventable’ flooding: NSW Farmers

Farmers in the state’s south say water authorities are failing to prepare for severe flood risks in the Murray Valley as La Nina conditions threaten to fill major dams and rivers. NSW Farmers Conservation and Resource Management Committee chair Louise Burge said while authorities may not be able to prevent all risks of flooding this year, they should “absolutely” avoid making flooding conditions even more extreme.

Dartmouth Dam to spill for the first time in 26 years: MDBA

After hovering around 99% capacity for 4 weeks, the largest water storage in the Murray–Darling Basin is expected to be flowing over the spillway tomorrow thanks to inflows from last weekend's rain. MDBA Senior Director of River Management, Joe Davis said water would begin flowing over the Dartmouth Dam spillway at low rates and contribute minor flows to the Mitta Mitta River downstream, with water also still being released through the valves at the base of the dam.

Aboriginal Elder calls for greater consultation on water

The Department of Planning and Environment has had more than 100 interactions with First Nations people on environmental water, including Wiradjuri elder Michael Lyons, of Narrandera. Mr Lyons said one per cent of water in the Murrumbidgee River was allocated to Aboriginal people for cultural or environmental use and there needed to be improved communication about where that allocated water ended up.

Eroding confidence

When I think of tragedy and tales of woe, it is hard not to go past history’s greats like Romeo and Juliet, but Australia as a nation is penning an even more tragic story, one sadly not confined to fiction ... With water or the environment not being big enough portfolios for the Albanese Government to separate, Tanya Plibersek has the job of forcing Southern Basin communities to swallow the pill promised to South Australia in the federal election.

River People’s Forum

A diverse range of views were heard at the River People’s Forum held in Swan Hill on September 2. What do we want our river communities and river to look like? What is the balance between regulated flows and floods and natural ones? Do we want concrete giants like the KP regulators? Nothing was out of bounds.

Erosion explosion

No action has been taken to address the explosion of erosion through hundreds of kilometres of Australia’s most iconic river, the Murray. The erosion is consuming red gum forests, one of which is RAMSAR listed, as well as compromising bank integrity, with floods looming. Private infrastructure is also being impacted with pump sheds, fences, lawns and watering systems all falling prey to hydraulic land clearing.

Labor’s latest political appointment spells trouble for the Murray-Darling Basin: Centofanti and Whetstone

Mr Beasley’s divisive and abrasive approach to the River Murray is illustrated in his 2021 book, Dead In The Water ... "A successful advocacy role in the Murray-Darling Basin requires having the confidence of the Basin communities – which include irrigators, other businesses, and the public. I’m not convinced that appointing a Sydney lawyer, who believes water buybacks are the only way forward, will wash with these communities" : Opposition Minister for Water Resources and the River Murray Nicola Centofanti.

Prominent barrister named first SA Commissioner for the River Murray: Close

Prominent barrister and author, Richard Beasley SC, has been appointed South Australia’s Commissioner for the River Murray ... "Having a Commissioner for the River Murray sends a clear message to upstream states that South Australia is serious about defending its water rights, including the 450 gigalitres promised but not delivered": SA Minister for Climate, Environment and Water, Susan Close MP

Ultimate authority

There has been much said about the Murray-Darling Basin Authority over the 10 years of Basin Plan implementation ... The latest attempt by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to justify the hydraulic land clearing and loss of capacity of the Murray River needs to be called out for what it is – mismanagement in breach of the 2007 Water Act.

Reconnecting River Country Program

A plan to have community at the forefront of co-design was the feature of Western Murray Land Improvement Group’s (WMLIG) Reconnecting River Country Program (RRCP) Wakool presentation ... During the night, attendees were walked through the RRCP mapping tool. The maps are generated through computer modelling for various flow options from 15,000 megalitres per day up to 40,000ML/D.

Mildura Weir to be removed to make way for high river flows: MDBA, GMW

The Mildura weir will be temporarily removed to allow high Murray River flows to pass through, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority and Goulburn-Murray Water announced.  MDBA Executive Director of River Management Andrew Reynolds said the weir needed to be removed ahead of increased flows expected to arrive by mid-September.

Barmah-Millewa future flow options prepared for feasibility study: MDBA

Six potential options that could address the declining regulated flow through the Barmah–Millewa reach of the Murray River have been detailed in a report released by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) ... Capacity through the Barmah–Millewa reach has been reduced from 11,300 megalitres per day in the 1980s to 9,200 megalitres per day today.

2022–23 Murray River outlook dominated by managing wet conditions: MDBA

Full water storages coupled with a 50% chance of another La Niña in 2022–23 are driving management strategies in the River Murray System for the year ahead, according to the MDBA's 2022–23 Annual Operating Outlook ... Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) Executive Director of River Management, Andrew Reynolds, said the Annual Operating Outlook explains how the river would be run based on a range of potential climatic and rainfall scenarios.  

Licensing, legalities and loonies

Water politics in Australia’s $13 billion political plan to save the Murray-Darling Basin is rapidly deteriorating as political drivers rip apart what remains of meaningful engagement, sustainable water industries and communities reliant on a balanced plan. Despite all the promises and shiny beads, sadly, politics and bureaucracy show little interest in change.

Hard truths from WESA should prompt rethink on 450GL: NFF

Australia’s peak farm body says the release of the Second Water for the Environment Special Account (WESA) Report should prompt a major rethink of the Australian Government’s policy of recovering an additional 450GL under the Murray Darling Basin Plan. National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson said the findings provide Water Minister Tanya Plibersek the opportunity to reset the Government’s approach, and to focus on achievable pathways to realise environmental outcomes.

Labor walking away from River Murray election commitments already: Centofanti

The Labor Party has already begun walking away from its pre-election commitment to deliver the Murray Darling Basin Plan in full and on time in hypocritical revelations from the new Federal Water Minister ... Fast forward a few weeks to the first sitting week of Federal Parliament and Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek is already saying she is open to delaying the 2024 deadline which would break an election promise.

Commonwealth Government ignores Basin Plan facts and history: VFF

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has raised concerns that the Commonwealth Government is rewriting history in an attempt to buyback and deliver water to South Australia under the Murray Darling Basin Plan. VFF Water Council Chair Andrew Leahy said the response from Water Minister Tanya Plibersek to South Australian MP Rebekha Sharkie’s question in Parliament this week ignored the history behind the 450 GL up-water target.

Government’s gift to irrigators will kill the Darling River: The Greens

The NSW Environment Minister has just approved Water Sharing Plans that will enable floodplain harvesting licences to be handed out in the Northern Basin. Cate Faehrmann, NSW Greens MP and water spokesperson, says this is a gift for big irrigators in the northern basin and will spell the end of a healthy Darling-Baaka River and Menindee Lakes.

Water prices forecast to remain low for third consecutive year: ABARES

Water allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin are likely to remain low for a third consecutive year, according to the latest ABARES Water Market Outlook. ABARES Executive Director, Dr Jared Greenville said based on the current climate outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology, ABARES considered the wet scenario to be the most likely, with prices expected to fall to $58 per ML.

Regulator sets sights on irrigators

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) has released its regulatory priorities for FY 2022-23 and has set its sights on the irrigated agriculture industry in the Murray, Murrumbidgee and the Far North Coast ... “Our regulatory priorities identify and target problem activities, areas and industries that may have high levels of non-compliance with water laws or the potential to cause harm to the environment or surrounding community”: NRAR’s Director of Regulatory Initiatives Ian Bernard.

Full throttle on Choke

The Barmah Millewa Choke is in the MDBA’s sights as the pesky sand slug slithered its way out of the pages of gold mining history, to now find itself lodged fairly and squarely in the road of supplying the mounting downstream demands for the precious water stored in Hume and Dartmouth. According to the MDBA, this particular sand slug must not be confused with the Cobram beach sand slug.

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