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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

conserving declining river systems « Previous | |Next »
June 5, 2012

The central problem in water policy in the Murray-Darling Basin is that the various basin states spent most of the last century handing out water rights like they were manna from heaven and picking up the tab on irrigation projects that failed along the way.

The consequences are well known: there has been increased salinity, algal blooms and loss of native species; plus many of the agricultural products (eg., dairy) not attracting market prices that covered the costs of production, including irrigation.

FPHindmarshIS.jpg Gary Sauer-Thompson, Hindmarsh Island, South Australia

The initial Guide to the Basin Plan and its revision --the Draft Plan which cut the volume of groundwater to be extracted, --- has seen farming communities and environmental interests. Irrigators have continued to claim the new limits would be too severe whilst environmentalists argued that not enough water would be transferred to the environment.

The bad public policies have continued, namely, ongoing taxpayers’ money on irrigation infrastructure based on the idea that irrigation infrastructure can generate water for the environment and miraculously transform the economic malaise of related industries. The better public policy is the buy-back of water rights and it is cheaper for the taxpayer.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:39 AM |