The NSW government will not take into account the latest drought in calculating how much water should be available to irrigators under draft plans condemned by regional councils and a Nationals MP.
While dams that supply some of the state’s biggest towns still hover below 20 per cent capacity, the government is poised to sign off on a water allocation system that backdates the “drought of record” gauge used as far back as 2004.
The NSW upper house passed a motion last week calling on Water Minister Melinda Pavey to amend the plans using up-to-date drought figures before submitting the water resource plans to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority for accreditation.
Inland Rivers Network wrote to Dubbo’s Daily Liberal newspaper about a proposed re regulating weir between Narromine and Warren on the Wambuul Macquarie River. The letter was in response to a piece submitted by outgoing WaterNSW CEO David Harris published by the paper.
Far from assuring the public that environmental concerns will be addressed during the planning process, WaterNSW raised more questions than they answered.
Two prominent New South Wales irrigators have been found guilty of illegally taking water for use on their farm near Brewarrina.
Irrigators Peter and Jane Harris are found in breach of the approvals associated with the water licence for their farm
They will be sentenced on a date to be fixed; they have 28 days to appeal the decision
WaterNSW says the court action shows how serious it is about managing water resources
The NSW Land and Environment Court found that Peter and Jane Harris illegally extracted water for irrigation from the Barwon River during June 2016, contrary to a condition of their joint water use and supply approvals under the Water Management Act 2000.
The NSW Government Department of Industry Water has prepared a draft replacement plan and is seeking feedback from water users and other interested parties as part of the public exhibition phase.
The Water Sharing Plan is a regulatory plan under the Water Management Act 2000, and is in effect for a 10-year period. The purpose of the NSW Great Artesian Basin Water Sharing Plan is to set the rules that determine how water is to be shared between the environment and water users.
This Plan applies to the groundwater sources of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB). These groundwater resources are referred to as the:
The New South Wales government has given the green light to irrigation farmers in the north-west of the state to harvest the recent rainfall, pleasing some but causing anger in towns such as Menindee and Wilcannia and on the lower Darling where the river has not flowed for a year.
The lifting of the embargo for three days will be welcomed particularly by cotton farmers who have lobbied the NSW water minister, Melinda Pavey, warning that unless they are able to harvest the water their infrastructure will be damaged.
The problems of water mismanagement go back a long way, but one thing is sure, building dams then praying for rain is not a rational solution. According to Kamilaroi water scientist, Bradley Moggridge, Indigenous knowledge-holders should be “front and centre” in decision making around water.
The benefits of the state government’s $1 billion dam-building plan will likely be limited by existing rules that cap the amount of water than can be taken from catchments within the Murray-Darling Basin.
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority – the body responsible for ensuring planning decisions made in the interests of the overall basin – said the proposed upgrade of the Wyangala Dam and the new Dungowan Dam would need to operate within the state’s existing water entitlement rules.
“New or expanded dams don’t create water, but rather intercept and store large volumes of water which can then be managed as regulated releases,” Phillip Glyde, the authority’s chief executive, told the Herald.
“The MDBA is required to ensure that state governments are using no more than the long-term annual average limit of water that can be taken from individual catchments within the Basin,” he said.
“Rivers are the arteries of our planet; they are lifelines in the truest sense.”
~ Mark Angelo
What better day to get in a boat and clean the river, where we get our water from, than WORLD RIVERS DAY and CLEAN UP THE WORLD DAY.
World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world’s waterways. It highlights the many values of our rivers, strives to increase public awareness, and encourages the improved stewardship of all rivers around the world. Rivers in virtually every country face an array of threats, and only through our active involvement can we ensure their health in the years ahead.
Community groups in Dubbo NSW came together and took to the water, collecting 180kg of general rubbish, tyres, bikes and seven shopping trolleys from the Macquarie River, the source of 70% of the town’s drinking water.