12 August, 2010

Murray Darling Basin

Both of our competing political leaders are pandering to the Murray mouth fresh water alarmists. Alan Jones with over 1m. listeners to Radio 2GB in Sydney, has been talking about the nonsense of the Government buying non-existent water, that is entitlements when there are no allocations. In an attempt to help him get words around the two key issues I sent him the following email. Pretty patronising of me to try to help one of the very best communicators around, but it is not easy to clearly express.

Dear Alan,
You may recall from our meetings at Bourke (Port of Bourke Hotel and all that), when I was Chairman and CEO of Clyde Agriculture; that I have a passionate interest in getting the truth into the public arena about our rivers and irrigation. It is a big communication challenge and I struggle to get the words right. However, perhaps my latest iteration might help.

There are two issues which 'get at me'.

First, we deal with the massive variability of our rivers by granting irrigation licenses/entitlements, that are subject to seasonal allocations. No, or limited, water, no allocations. Thus, the Government buying licenses, when there is minimal water and thus no allocations, will do nothing for our rivers, but will restrict agricultural production when water supplies are ample.

Second, the issue of "The Barrages" that close the Lower Lakes off from the Southern Ocean while they evaporate their heads off. I can do little better than quote from the website of a Goolwa (SA) based organisation LakesNeedWater-

"Since we started LakesNeedWater over one year ago, our core message has consistently been that the Lower Lakes should have, well, water. This is hardly rocket science after all. Why anyone would believe that holding back seawater and allowing the lakes to dry out is preferable to allowing seawater to mix with freshwater defies logic. Among the great rivers of the world, such as the Nile, the Amazon, the Yangtze, and the Mississippi, the River Murray is alone in being cut off from its mouth. Does anyone honestly believe it is healthy for a river to be separated from the ocean by kilometres of barrages, resulting in the loss of 90% of its historic estuary?

The scaremongers have it all wrong with their single-minded obsession with fresh water in the Lower Lakes. The River Murray needs a healthy estuary, not artificially maintained freshwater lakes. Rivers need estuaries. It really is that simple."

I hope this helps. Keep up the good work.Regards,

David Boyd
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