NSW towns including Dubbo and Tamworth face water emergency within months

The Guardian

Anne Davies

Friday 24/5/19

In some central and western areas on Murray-Darling no ground water can be accessed by bores, as dams run close to dry

Towns in western and central New South Wales, including Dubbo, Nyngan, Cobar, Walgett and Tamworth, are facing a crisis in their water supplies within a few months unless it rains, prompting emergency planning by water authorities.


We Need a Broad Review for a Complex Plan

Inland Rivers Network President Bev Smiles talks to ABC Riverina 24th April 2019

The complexities in the Basin and the world of water reform are deep, and have taken many years to develop – it will take a review with very broad terms of reference to do justice to the issues we face in the Basin. There has been a spate of reviews into the Murray Darling Basin, but they all have a narrow view and deal with only certain details of the implementation of the Plan.

From an environmental point of view, we need to look at the type of licences that are being bought back. Some types of licences might not be delivering the types of environmental outcomes required under the Basin Plan. We need an audit of all environmental water being held.

We need a review broad enough to look at the whole Basin. For example, many residents and stakeholders are unhappy with the Northern Basin Amendments, which takes in the whole Darling River system. Clearly this system is extremely stressed, as we experienced with the massive fish kill at the beginning of the year.

The socio-economic definitions being referred to in the public debate are too narrow, only focusing on those few communities that rely heavily on irrigation. There are many other industries in the Basin that rely on water; commercial fishing in SA, recreational fishing, tourism and grazing for example. We cannot afford to be blinkered and risk neglecting many interconnected economies and communities for the sake of one.

Inland Rivers Network has always said that communities that are heavily reliant on irrigation will need help. Built into the Murray Darling Basin Plan was money for Regional Diversification – where is this money, and what benefits have communities seen from it?

Environmental water buy backs are easily blamed for the hardships felt in irrigation communities, but the reality is far more complex. Drought will be a tough time for irrigation communities regardless of what is going on in water reform. Another important point to consider is that when water became a tradable property separate from land, anybody could buy water access licences and shift them to different valleys, impacting existing industries as other industries grew.

Water reform and Basin Plan implementation is very complex, and it deserves a very broad, big picture review.

The Floodplain Dilema

The Land

Taking water from the top means less at the bottom, say irrigators.

EVER-widening divisions between graziers and irrigation farmers on floodplains in the state’s north, while in the south disgust at how paying water users are being treated, is heightening tensions within the Murray-Darling Basin.

This estimated 3000GL far exceeds the 1800GL NSW and Victoria are legally obliged to supply to South Australia.

www.theland.com.au the-floodplain-dilemma

Murray-Darling Basin Authority: a royal, commissioned farce

Dec 25, 2018

“A fraud on the environment” is how lawyers for the Royal Commission framed it. Cronyism, cover-ups, deception, secrecy, scientists “leaned on”. The Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission report is to be handed down in little over a month and the outcome, for Australia’s water authorities, will not be pretty. Triskele reports – in a tragi-comedy in three acts – on the extraordinary events surrounding Australia’s most critical inland water system.

Michael West MDBA 20181225

‘Drought, climate change and mismanagement’: What experts think caused the death of a million Menindee fish

ABC Science

By environment reporter Nick Kilvert

The sight of more than a million fish floating belly up on the Darling River at Menindee has thrown doubt over the management of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Experts say irrigators are taking too much water from the system, and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has mismanaged water flows.

But New South Wales Water Minister Niall Blair says drought is to blame.

“Drought, climate change and mismanagement”: What experts think caused the death of a million Menindee fish