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water crisis « Previous | |Next »
January 13, 2007

It's been the Murray-Darling river's driest year on record: just 1317 billion litres of water flowed naturally into the Murray system — compared with the previous minimum of 1740 billion litres in 1902. The Murray River would have stopped flowing altogether in 2006 and been "reduced to a series of pools at bends in the river", if it had not been artificially boosted.

So what is Premier Beattie doing to keep the Murray Darling River system flowing? He's going to auction an additional eight billion litres of water a year from the Murray-Darling's parched upper reaches for irrigators. The Warrego, where Queensland is planning to extract the eight billion litres, is at the headwaters of the Murray-Darling river system. Queensland is full of doublespeak about water. It talks sustainability but is determined to push ahead with continued development of the upper reaches, after refusing to join a national effort to cap the water-take 10 years ago.

Beattiewater.jpg
Bill Leak

This is is significant because the ephemeral flooding upper reaches of the Murray-Darling System helps to flush the entire system. Queensland has trapped the floodwaters in Queensland has turned the Condamine-Balonne catchment, which hosts the Cubbie Cotton farm, from one of the areas least affected by water harvesting to one of the most.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:21 AM | | Comments (8)
Comments

Comments

Not many realise that the statement "Let them eat Cake" was atributed at the time to the fact that it was ordered that Bakers should always have fresh bread available to patrons. And if they didn't they must sell cake at the same price as bread by weight.
So the bakers always had plenty of bread to sell and sell cheaply at the end of the day...Thus keeping everyone fed and happy.
And of course cake was more costly to produce.

Pete does look good in a dress though

Though over the years the statement has taken on a much more Snobbish application.

Shamymus
It is Beattie in pixie land. The guy has little credibility on water issues both within and outside his state.

Chaste or Chastised;

That lil pink fairy ought watch out for them blue fresh water crabs.

Gadget,
Do I presume the 'blue fresh water crabs' are environmentalists critical of Premier Beattie's double speak?

Gary asked: "Do I presume the 'blue fresh water crabs' are environmentalists critical of Premier Beattie's double speak?"

Well, now that you mention it, why not.

I was trying to remember the name of the blue yabbies in the Conungra park, but i cant.

Gadget,
Beattie is not alone on this. As The Agepoints out "water consumption is typically regulated only by crisis management". It is argued by state and federal governments that this drought has intensified the problems of water we are creating by the way we use it, but these will wash away with the next rains.

Climate change is rarely mentioned especially when it comes to irrigated agriculture. It is rarely mentioned when it is proposed to build more dams than recycle water---storm or grey.

A thought on the natural inflow/runoff into the Murray-Darling system.
Farmers are reducing runoff from their paddocks with modern farming practices.
Many aim to keep organic matter on and in their soils so as to increase infiltration and reduce evaporation and so increase production. Many also are stocking more conservately for the same reason, to increase the organic matter, keep more of the rainfall in their own paddocks and so increase production.
The result is a significant lessening of the runoff into the river system. I do not think that this factor has been recognised sufficiently by the 'powers that be' in the water debate.

BigBob,
good point. In the Mt Lofty Ranges east of Adelaide---on the side that flows into the Murray, they are building ever more dams in all the little streams.These dams --and they are often one after the other---need to fill up before any water flows down the creek to the river then to the Murray.

Another example of less runoff to the River Murray.

I think that it is outrageous that no irrigator or big business in the city suffer cuts in their water allocations, yet Melbourne town is on level 4 restrictions (no water for gardens) and there are water police engaged in surveillance in the suburbs.

The use of the word drought implies that the water crisis is a cyclical situation and will end. Maude Barlow in the Age says:

That is not my reading. Annual rainfall is declining; salinity and desertification are spreading rapidly; rivers are being drained at an unsustainable rate; aquifers are way over-pumped - groundwater extraction skyrocketed a whopping 90 per cent in the 1990s - as well as being contaminated from the 80,000 toxic dump sites under the major cities; and many surface management areas now exceed sustainable limits. Ask any farmer: Australia is running out of water.
Well the south eastern and south western parts of Australia plus Brisbane is running out of water.