19 June, 2015

15 June, 2015

Murray Darling Basin Plan-Unpublished Letter to The Australian

Letter to the Editor-"The Australian" (unpublished)
Sue Neales article -Farmers Left High and Dry-The Australian June 12-scratches the surface of the utter fiasco which the Murray Darling Basin Plan has become. The Plan is based on the false assumption that the natural environmental impacts of drought are caused by "over allocation" of irrigation water. What the government has been buying from farmers are "entitlements". These "entitlements" grant the holder a share of consumptive water subject to the granting of "allocations". Until "allocations" are granted, the "entitlements" amount to phantom water. So Government ownership has not reduced the number of entitlements, just changed the ownership. The widely claimed "purchase" of water is actually the purchase of entitlements which may or may not, depending on availability, attract an allocation. In other words, it may  all be "phantom water", particularly in drought situations. 

The reality is that inland Australia is subject to enormous variability in its rainfall and run-off. Establishing single figure "sustainable diversion limits" for each river in the Murray Darling Basin is impracticable nonsense, even if they are averages as the proponents claim. The spread around the average in annual flows is massive. The only way to deal with sensibly limiting extractions where there is huge variability, is some sort of moving share of actual flows.

Sadly, we need to go back to the drawing board, if we are not to seriously undermine Australia's agricultural productive capacity for negligible environmental benefit. We need to re-examine the whole issue, including the enormous waste (to evaporation) of fresh water by attempting to maintain South Australia's lower lakes as unnatural fresh water storages and to keep the Murray mouth open 90% of the time without the assistance of tidal pulses now blocked by the so called barrages.
David Boyd

12 June, 2015

Murray Darling Basin Plan-Neil Eagle Letter to the Editor-The Land

Letter to The Land Editor:
In response to Mal Peters article 28/5/15 in The Land, I have no doubt of Mal’s sincerity in believing he is endeavouring to further the interests of his fellow farmers.  However, for a person of his NSW Farmers background and now Chair of the Northern Basin Advisory Committee set up by the MDBA, to talk of the Government initiatives from the “CAP” to the “Living Murray” and now “the Basin Plan”, being to fix the over-allocated rivers; clearly demonstrates his total lack of understanding of how the allocation system works.
All users have a water entitlement.  However, annually the available water resource depending on inflow is apportioned in the following way.  First water covers conveyance losses.  Second water is for critical human needs (towns & cities) and stock & domestic needs.  Third water goes to identified approved environmental needs.  Then, if any water remains it goes to productive use as a percentage of their entitlement-an allocation.
If there is no water remaining in storage, as happened in the recent 10 year drought, NSW Murray General Security irrigators received ZERO announced allocation for 2 years, as well as a year of 9% and 10%.
With this knowledge, how can anybody NOT understand the difference between a Water Entitlement (a license) and the Annual Announced Water Allocation, which is a percentage of Entitlement, given each year depending on Water Availability.
It either demonstrates ignorance of the above or shows the damage that our leaders are inflicting when playing politics with our essential national water resources, to perhaps secure votes in key South Australian electoral seats.  
Some may argue that too many entitlements were granted on some rivers.  If so, the only ones impacted are the irrigators whose annual Announced Water Allocation will fall, as the first apportioned water goes to conveyance, town/cities and the environment ahead of irrigators and the remainder spread over irrigator’s entitlements.
It is disturbing to see that the “Basin Plan” seems to be driven by the aim of maintaining the naturally estuarine Lower Lakes of Alexandrina and Albert as freshwater, since the Barrages construction in the 1930’s.  To utilize reliable water inflows from the Southern connected rivers of Murrumbidgee, Murray and Victorian tributaries, to keep the Lower Lakes as freshwater and into the Southern Ocean, cannot continue without change. The evaporation losses from these Lower Lakes and planned Southern Ocean discharges is equivalent to the Hume Dam storage!
So where is the merit of not including the future management (and return to estuarine status) of the Lower Lakes in the whole Murray Darling Basin future management plan?    
Neil Eagle

05 June, 2015

In a Nutshell

I picked up this comment somewhere and I heartily agree-
"During a time where insanity reigns and all common sense has been abandoned for politically ideology, I'm glad someone has the voice to stand up and say "No!" November 2016 will be here soon. It's time the silent majority be heard and the message is "Stop the insanity!""
It's in line with the common sense we are hearing from Maurice Newman on climate change.