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the politics of water « Previous | |Next »
February 9, 2007

And I thought that all the states would sign up to Howard's big water plan for the Murray-Darling Basin. The four states, which control the Murray-Darling system , were being asked to hand over control of the rivers to the Commonwealth in exchange for a huge upgrade of irrigation infrastructure and measures to address water over-allocations. But, to my suprise, it was not to be.

Bill Leak

Suprisingly, I agree: the states should not be required to surrender their constitutional powers over their rivers.The states expressed concern over inadequate financing for the plan, the lack of written guarantees of minimum water flows, and the Commonwealth's demand for a veto power over developments on flood plains.

I guess the premiers will sign eventually.That means that most of the direct benefits will flow to the many prosperous irrigators lining the banks of the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin. That is the cost of getting the Nationals onside for a reform of the governance of the Murray-Darling Basin.

What is good about Howard's plan is the $3 billion to buy out excess allocations is some allowance for structural adjustment to finance unviable irrigators to leave the industry. What is bad about it is the big spending on upgrading irrigation infrastructure such as lining channels so there is less water loss from seepage, which will certainly deliver more water to irrigators.Why should the Government should fund it. Why isn't it all the irrigators benefiting from irrigation infrastructure spend the money to maintain and upgrade it. Why not increase the price of water delivered to irrigators as a way to change their behaviour?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:54 PM | | Comments (5)


Perhaps next time our illustrious leaders are climbing over each other to be seen at church they can ask their God to fix the environment....after all He made the whole place.
Shaymus, shaking his fist to the sky yells

IMHO, if Rann agrees to hand over control of the Murray to federal government control, and especially one where cotton and rice growers have many NP senators looking out for their interests versus none from SA, then he should be tried for treason against the state, or at least sent packing back to NZ.

An independent commission is a better idea, especially if the ceding of control includes sunset clauses requiring a recommitment to the new arrangements on a regular basis just in case the commission went off the rails and became too close to the regulated, as regulating bodies all too often do.

My gut feeling is that Rann is hanging out for some more money from Howard. He wants compensation for losing his $230m dividend from SA Water. Less water sold by SA Water from the River Murray means less money profit and less dividend paid to Treasury coffers.

SA water is in the water business --selling water for profit. It has no interest in water conservation ---eg.capturing storm water and recycling is in direct competition to SA's water from the River Murray.

I think all the other stuff Rann is going on about is wrapping for the 30 pieces of silver.

God seems to be on holidays at the moment.

Yes, he likes it at Broadbeach this time of year after the kids go back to school and plenty of reasonably priced units. He usually finds one thats walking distance to Kurrawa surf club and can often be seen sitting at the bar in the evening around 8 with a large glass of good red.
He is quite a chatty fellow once you break the ice. But I do think he goes on a bit much about the old juke box that was replaced by pokies.