Letter Published in "The Land" of 25h November,2010
I think we can all agree with Tony Windsor (Letters, 18th November) that "we have a problem". But, I'm not sure we would agree on what the problem actually is. As I and many others see it, the problem is the dominance of dark green ideology, and classifying the natural results of an extreme dry period (and mis-management of the Lower Lakes), as river ill-health. First, let's scientifically examine the symptoms one by one and see if the rivers really are "unhealthy" or simply water deprived. Second, let us examine the hard numbers, (not the loose meaningless averages thrown around by the MDBA), for run-off, river flows and extractions, to determine whether these low river flows are really the result of excessive extractions.
The MDBA quote the annual average surface water extraction limit at 13,700 GL. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the total extractions for the last three years all added together are only 11,092 GL and for 2008/09 alone, only 3,492 GL. The seasonal allocation system would appear to be working well!
Tony Windsor is in a wonderful position to help get some truth and common sense into the debate. There is no better place to start than correctly defining the problem.