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Archive for the ‘Policy’ Category

Bill provides for national system of public health surveillance; greater cooperation between governments; notifiable disease list

Posted by waterweek on 12 October 2007

Speaking on 20 September 2007 in the Commonwealth House of Representatives on the National Health Security Bill 2007, a bill to give effect to the International Health Regulations 2005, Nicola Roxon said it was a substantial bill with several constituent parts.

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Posted in Policy, Water Week Vol 0415 | Leave a Comment »

Labor offers Fed cash to Horticulture Australia to identify priority climate-research objectives to start 2009

Posted by waterweek on 12 October 2007

Federal Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Kerry O’Brien, last Friday announced that if Labor was elected to government there would be additional measures to help agriculture adjust to the impact of climate change, reported The Canberra Times (4/10/2007, p.36).

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Climate, Federal Election, Policy, Politics, Water Week Vol 0415 | Leave a Comment »

Victoria growing opposition to recent $1 billion plan for irrigation upgrades in the state’s Goulburn Murray region, including a pipeline to Melbourne

Posted by waterweek on 11 October 2007

As the state government attempts to conclude six months of negotiations with the federal government, there is growing opposition to its recently announced $1 billion plan for irrigation upgrades in the state’s Goulburn Murray region, including a pipeline to Melbourne reported The Australian Financial Review (13/7/2007, p. 19). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, australia, Energy, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, water, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Changing climate allows less agriculture, altering patterns of agricultural investment says Adelaide professor

Posted by waterweek on 11 October 2007

According to renowned expert on water and farming, Mike Young of the University of Adelaide, it looked as if Australia had shifted to a drier climate, similar to that experienced in the 1920s to the early 1940s, wrote rural writer Asa Wahlquist in The Australian (6/10/2007, p. 23). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Energy, Policy, South Australia, water, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

SA govt go ahead for water-saving $4.7m Virginia Pipeline extension; govt to pump funds, scheme to pump 35pc treated wastewater for use of irrigators

Posted by waterweek on 11 October 2007

Ending years of uncertainty for Angle Vale irrigators and almost two years of delays after its announcement, the $4.7 million Virginia Pipeline Scheme Extension, a major water-saving project was given the green light by the State Government with the Government set to match federal funding for extension, announced by Prime Minister John Howard in October 2005, reported The Advertiser, (06/09/2007, p.7). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Energy, Policy, recycled water, South Australia, water, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Health, water and drought the election issues for farmers; only 5.1pc view climate change as important election factor, Qld poll shows

Posted by waterweek on 11 October 2007

A special farmer-only poll revealed they believed Kevin Rudd would be the next Prime Minister of Australia, even though most said they would vote for the Coalition, wrote Lucy Skuthorp in Queensland Country Life (4/10/2007, p.11). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, australia, Emissions, Energy, Policy, qld, water, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Old friendship between Greens leader Brown and Peter Garrett ends over Tamar Valley pulp mill; Brown to fight on

Posted by waterweek on 10 October 2007

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown had turned his back on former environmental pin-up boy and old friend Peter Garrett, wrote Mark Worley in The Mercury (6/10/2007).

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Federal Election, Policy, Tasmania, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

October emergency: dry, hot Murray Darling: no irrigation water, maybe no town or stock water, either – crisis conditions extend, levels lower than 1957

Posted by waterweek on 9 October 2007

MBD

Storages lowest since 1957: At September 30, the total volume of water stored in River Murray System storages was 2130 GL (23 per cent ), which is the lowest for this time of year since 1957, before the construction of Dartmouth Reservoir and Menindee Lakes storage, and the expansion of Hume Dam. At this time last year storage totalled 3350 GL. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in ACT, agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, Rainfall, River Murray, SA, Salinity, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Turnbull’s tangle: palm oil grown to earn Australian subsidies clears SE Asia forests and creates greenhouse effect, Australia to pay Indonesia to replant

Posted by waterweek on 9 October 2007

The death of Indonesia’s forests was ahead in 20 years, aided by Australiabn subsidies for imported Palm oil. The managing director of Australian Renewable Fuels, John Lillywhite, said the government should not be subsidising biodiesel made from imported palm oil as it did little to help development of the local industry. According to Angus Grigg in Jakarta, environment minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged during last month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co­operation group meeting to put forests at the “top of the climate-change agenda”.

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Posted in biofuel, International, Policy, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Defence used over 9.2 gigalitres in 2005: had identified 45 high-water-use sites; plans use of rainwater, stormwater, recycling

Posted by waterweek on 9 October 2007

Brendan Nelson, Member for Bradfield, and Minister for Defence, Australia Liberal Party, speaking to the Commonwealth House of Representatives on 20 September 2007, said Defence water usage was monitored locally at Defence sites. Data was not aggregated nationally. Water usage across the whole of Defence was in the order of 9.2 gigalitres in 2005 (based on a water use and consumption profile study of Defence facilities).

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Posted in Policy, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Richest 1pc of US farmers get 72pc of govt subsidies; cotton costs $US156,000 per farmer; global fishing subsidies hurt poor nations, ruin ecology

Posted by waterweek on 5 October 2007

In the US, the richest 1 per cent of farmers got 72 per cent of the government payouts, and US cotton subsidies cost nearly $US4 billion, or $US156,000 a farmer, wrote Mike Moore in The Australian Financial Review (4/10/2007, p.63). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, australia, Emissions, Energy, Policy, water, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) trades in permanent water entitlements or temporary water allocations

Posted by waterweek on 5 October 2007

Clause 105 of the Water Bill 2007 provides that the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) is to manage the Commonwealth environmental water holdings and administer the Environmental Water Holdings Special Account, according to advice from the Department of Parliamentary Service released on 14 August 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Energy, Policy, water, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Reports that say nothing, in mire of red tape: what happens when govts protect powerful interests and offend no one, says business academic

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The Nationals have long employed sham committees to protect sacred cows – the classic was Warren Truss’s Mickey Mouse 2004 Wheat Marketing Review committee, established with terms of reference that specifically excluded consideration of the single desk’s future, which delivered an eight-page report saying nothing, wrote Professor Paul Kerin, teacher of strategy at Melbourne Business School, in The Australian (25/9/2007, p.30). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Energy, Gas, Policy, Regulation, water, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

‘The Australian Legend’: propping-up farmers in times of drought “a very expensive way to maintain a national myth,” says Aus Institute chief

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

Almost 50 years since it was published, Russel Ward’s book The Australian Legend still explained why politicians gave generous sums of money to drought-affected farmers, wrote Daniel Lewis in The Sydney Morning Herald (29/9/2007, p.28). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Drought, Policy, water, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Over 300 NSW, Victoria, NSW towns face water restriction and water-carting under Ministers Armageddon dust-bowl plan

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Report to First Ministers ;lists Town-by-town contingency planning as “A detailed list of towns potentially moving onto no outdoor use restrictions from 1 July 2007. All states confirm that town-by-town contingency planning frameworks are now in place and are evolving as new issues and situations arise. Public information on affected towns is being made available via State Government web sites”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Drought, Emergency, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, Victoria, Water Security, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Armageddon divvy-up for 2008-09: South East Australia emergency water plans

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The May Armageddon plan agreed by Ministers was now in full swing. The details of the plan appear in the Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers, May 2007. Matters to be considered in establishing a reserve for 2008-09 include;

• whether there should be a system wide reserve or reserves built up by individuals and towns;

• at what magnitude allocations should be before water starts to be allocated to reserves;

• the timing of a reserve to ensure critical water supplies can be delivered in 2008-09, and

• the issue of carryover and how it will be treated in the reserve.

State water sharing agreements: Assuming that

• 333 GL of water is required to meet losses in South Australia and
• 695 GL to meet losses upstream of the South Australian border during the 2007-08
season, the Senior Officials’ Group recommends that First Ministers:

1. NOTE that, on 25 May 2007, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council directed the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, from water presently
available to the Commission, to;

•  allocate 141 GL for South Australia (noting that First Ministers have agreed that this will require 487 GL as a cross-border flow, subject to salinity issues that may emerge),
•  75 GL for New South Wales; and
•  53 GL for Victoria, to allow each state to supply critical human needs (a total allocation of 269 GL) in the 2007-08 season;

2. AGREE that any improvements in water available in the system should thereafter be allocated sequentially as follows, during the 2007-08 season:

•  (a) the next 492 GL of improvements be allocated proportionally such that:

• 120 GL be allocated to each of New South Wales, Victoria, dilution flows and losses in South Australia and to South Australian diversions; and

• 12 GL made available for River Murray Improved Flows (a total allocation of 761 GL);

(b) of the next 739 GL of improvements, 25 per cent should be allocated to dilution flows and losses in South Australia. The remaining 75 per cent should be allocated to New South Wales, Victoria and to South Australian diversions in such a way that most rapidly allows the usual water-sharing arrangements under Part X of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement to resume, without reducing the volumes already allocated to any State for diversion (a total allocation of 1500 GL);
(c) the next 700 GL should initially be allocated in accordance with the
usual water-sharing arrangements under Part X of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, subject to the requirements that:

(i) the volumes already allocated to any State for diversion must not be reduced; and
(ii) 50 per cent of the sum of the additional volumes which would be allocated to New South Wales and Victoria according to those usual water-sharing arrangements must instead be allocated to South Australia (a total allocation of 2200 GL):
(d) once total improvements in available water of 1931 GL have been allocated in accordance with paragraphs (a) to (c), any further improvement in available water should be allocated in such a way that most rapidly allows the usual water-sharing arrangements under Part X of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement to resume, without reducing the volumes already allocated to any State for diversion; and
(e) once it is possible for the usual water-sharing arrangements under
Part X of the Agreement to resume (after about a total of 2670 GL has been allocated) those arrangements should continue to apply.

Posted in Allocations, Emissions, Environmental Flows, Murray Darling Basin, Policy | Leave a Comment »

NSW, SA, Victoria towns and irrigators wait for Senior Officers October 2007 critical water plans

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

On 4 October Snowy Hydro reported that the NSW Department of Water and Energy was to “review” all dam releases. This wasbelieved to result from an unpublished Octiber decision of Senior Officials’ Group (SOG).The next report was due in October 2007 and “will be focused on the volume of a reserve for 2008-09, as well as the source of water and timing of a reserve for 2008-09”.

The September Recommendations:

The Senior Officials’ Group (SOG) recommends that First Ministers:
1. NOTE that the water supply situation in the southern Basin system is critical.
2. AGREE that contingency planning should continue.
3. NOTE that, given the current water situation, there is a growing likelihood that allocations will be insufficient to avoid significant production losses across most of the Murray System in horticulture and other water dependant agricultural sectors.
4. AGREE that governments will continue to work with industry associations and stakeholder groups to ensure information is available to help producers make business decisions.
5. AGREE that water authorities continue to provide realistic assessments to water users regarding forecast allocations and salinity levels in the system over the coming months, so that irrigators and other industries can make key management decisions.
6. NOTE that unregulated flows which occur in the southern Basin system while operating under the special water sharing arrangements agreed by First Ministers on 20 June 2007, will be managed as follows:

I. Each State may use up to one third of forecast unregulated flows (as declared by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in a ‘unregulated flow forecast determination’) to address its priority needs, including facilitation of water delivery for those purposes.

II. To the extent it is practicable, flows unable to be captured for these purposes will be directed to highest priority river recovery and environmental watering needs.

7. AGREE measures be taken in 2007-08 to ensure there is enough water available to run the river and for critical needs in 2008-09, as follows:

I. In managing issues around dry inflow planning, markets should be used to the maximum extent possible.

II. Arrangements (including the possibility of establishing a ‘collective’ reserve) should be established by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in 2007-08 to ensure there is sufficient water in 2008-09 to enable operation of the river and delivery of agreed flows (including 696 GL dilution flow to South Australia), as well as provisions to manage projected poor water quality (particularly salinity and algal blooms).

III. To assist South Australia to store additional reserves, South Australia should be permitted to store reserves in NSW and Victorian airspace in Murray System storages. (It is noted that South Australia is able to access some or all of the volume needed to meet critical requirements from volumes provided for dilution and loss purposes.) To assist the ACT, storage arrangements may need to be negotiated with NSW and Snowy Hydro Ltd.

IV. Operational decisions on the measures to be adopted, including the source, volume and timing of establishing a collective reserve should be made by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in September 2007, taking into account SOG recommendations.

V. Jurisdictions are encouraged to allow water to be carried over from 2007-08 to 2008-09, which would be available in storages from the beginning of the 2008-09 water year. South Australian carryover held in NSW and Victorian airspace in Murray System storages should have the same priority for delivery as NSW and Victorian carryover. Delivery of any carry-over will depend on having sufficient water available to meet transmission losses.

8. AGREE that contingency measures, initially agreed by First Ministers in response to the December 2006 Contingency Planning Report and implemented during 2007, should if necessary be implemented in a low water availability situation 2008-09. Further water sharing principles may be necessary to ensure critical water needs in each state in 2008-09, and will be proposed as required.

Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers September 2007. This is the third Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) Dry Inflow Overview Report to the Prime Minister, the Premiers of New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and South Australia, and the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The first and second Overview Reports and the June 2007 update on MDB inflows are available on the Department of the Environment and Water Resources’ web site (www.environment.gov.au).

Posted in Allocations, australia, Environmental Flows, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, Water Security, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

4 October 2007: Emergency action: NSW Department of Water and Energy to “review” all NSW dam releases

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

It appeared the NSW Department of Water and Energy had frozen all dam releases. This was believed to result from an unpublished decision of State Minister’s Senior Officials’ Group (SOG). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Environmental Flows, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, Water Week Vol 0412, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Gunns Tasmania mill’s fate hangs in balance: Fed Cabinet refuses to make a decision after Government chief scientist gives thumbs down to mill in current form; Gunns told to agree to more stringent effluent controls

Posted by waterweek on 3 October 2007

According to Sue Neales, chief reporter of The Mercury, (27/09/2007, p.5), Federal Cabinet refused to make a decision on the future of the world’s largest pulp mill, the $1.9 billion Tasmanian mill, after being told last week that government chief scientist Jim Peacock had recommended, after a four-week inquiry, that the Federal Government not approve the mill in its current form unless proponent Gunns agreed to incorporate more stringent effluent controls.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Federal Election, Policy, Tasmania, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Federal funding of $201 million over six years to support installation of water tanks and other water-saving devices by schools and community organisations

Posted by waterweek on 2 October 2007

Federal treasurer Peter Costello promised a new environmental initiative in the Budget to provide $197 million over five years for the Global Initiative on Forests and Climate, reported The Australian (9/5/2007, p. 12).

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Posted in Policy, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Australian Greens could hold balance of power in the Senate after the next election, Liberal Senate leader Nick Minchin says

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The Greens would hold the balance of power in the Senate after the next election, even on the strong primary vote being recorded for Labor at present, the government Senate leader Nick Minchin had warned, reported to Laura Tingle in The Australian Financial Review (12/7/2007, p.5). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Federal Election, Policy, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Murrumbidgee towns may now ease water restrictions from Level 4 to Level 3a but emergency conditions remain:Water Sharing Plan still disabled

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The NSW Department of Water and Energy, September 2007 Murrumbidgee High and General Security licences will be allowed to carryover up to 15 per cent of entitlement, as was permitted last water year. Carryover for High Security will be permitted until the Water Sharing Plan was reinstated. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Emergency, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Emergency conditions: NSW withholds river-flow to southern states; had it not, it “would not have had any water for any purpose at the start of the season”

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

River levels
The NSW Department of Water and Energy said things were bad, very bad and only “critical water” was available; and there was the risk that event that supplied could fall so low essential services could not be provided. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

New policy-plan: NSW towns to purchase water on the open market in deal to go level 4 to level 3a, others must plan to truck water, open channels banned

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The NSW Department of Water and Energy, said sufficient water will be provided to all towns to meet demands under Level 4 restrictions. Level 4 restrictions would continue until allocations of at least 20 per cent for high security licences were announced.MBDC flows

New idea: An option was currently being considered that would allow towns to purchase water on the open market if they wish to ease the level of restrictions from level 4 to level 3a. This would be on the basis that towns acquire 20 per cent of the volume to meet level 4 restrictions for that month. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Evaporation, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, New ideas, nsw, Policy, Regulation, Town Water, Trade, Water Markets, Water Trade | Leave a Comment »

Queensland offers Darling-tributary, Condamine River irrigators 163 megalitres allocation from Sandy Creek, to Cecil Plains, when river is a dust-pile

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

According to Brad Pfeffer, in a report to Queensland Country Life, 27/9/2007, p. 9, “last week, the Department of Natural Resources and Water (NRW) posted letters to irrigators on the Condamine River in southern Queensland, calling for interest in 163 megalitres of medium-priority allocation. This was on a river where irrigators across this stretch of the river had no allocations from Leslie Dam for six years. The last dribbles of water sold at $2000/ML; and if allocations sold at that value the income at 163 x $2000/ML, would go to government. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, Price, qld | Leave a Comment »

Qld opens sale of coal-zone; Surat, Surat-East acquifer allocations calls for registrations of interest for general reserve unallocated ground water

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Water calls for registrations of interest for general reserve unallocated water available under the ‘Water Resource (Great Artesian basin) Plan 2006‘ According to a public notice in The Courier Mail, (13/09/2007), the Department of Natural Resources and Water (the Department) intended to make available unallocated water held as General reserve water identified in North management areas. See storage levels in the regions, below.

Qld map

Specifics of area available with department: The water would be available through granting of water licences to take water under the Plan. The exact location of the boundary of the Area was held in digital electronic form by the Department of Natural Resources and Water and may be inspected at the department’s office at 203 Tor Street, Toowoomba.

Call for registration of interest: The Department was calling for registrations of interest from those having standing to apply for a water licence under section 206 of the Water Act 2000.

Release as per ROP: The water would be released through the process identified in the ‘Great Artesian Basin Resource Operations Plan 2000’ (the ROP). In accordance with the Plan, water may be granted, as far as practicable from the management units.

Licenses subject to provisions of the Act:
Any entitlement granted would be a water licence under section 212 of the Act and would be attached to land. The water licence would be subject to the provisions of the Act. This included that the water licence-

• must be granted for a specified period;

• must state the location from which water may be taken; and

• could be renewed.

No restrictions on numbers: There was no restriction on the number of water licences that could be attached to a particular parcel of land; therefore existing water licence holders could register interest for a water licence.

Approved land and water management plan required: An approved land and water management plan would be required before water could be taken for the purpose of irrigation under the water licence. The application to register would he assessed in accordance with section 15 of the ROP. It stated that some applications could be refused if they did not meet the requirements of the Plan or the ROP.

Unallocated water could be available: Following an assessment of application to register, unallocated water could be made available through either a tender or fixed price process as outlined in the ROP. Alternatively, no unallocated water could be made available.

Selection criteria: Selection of the process would depend upon-

• volumes available;

• volumes for which interests were registered; and

• any other relevant matters.

Requisites: It was required that interested parties wishing to register an interest for unallocated water were not bound to be part of any subsequent release of unallocated water through either a tender or fixed price process.

Mandatory expression of interest: However, to be eligible to apply for unallocated water that could be released through a tender process it was MANDATORY TO REGISTER AN INTEREST FOR GENERAL RESERVE UNALLOCATED WATER.

Applications: For an application form to register an interest in unallocated water or for any related enquiries, please contact: Adrian McKay, Department of Natural Resources and Water,203 Tor Street, Toowoomba; Telephone: (07) 4688 1000;

Fees: Applications to register an interest must be submitted in the approved form and must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $168.50 and submitted by 4.30 pm on Friday 12 October 2007.

The Courier Mail, 13/9/2007

Posted in Allocations, Aquifer, Coal mines, Policy, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Badly needed – an independent national level assessment process whereby Aus govt able to declare a project of national significance, says Tas Lib Senator Barnett; will help escape controversies and time lag

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

A formalised, independent, objective assessment process for projects of national significance was needed just in line with the independent, objective assessment process for projects of state significance the states had, said Guy Barnett, Senator for Tasmania, Liberal Party of Australia, Commonwealth Senate, 18 September 2007.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Policy, Regulation, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

India’s continuing absence from APEC a serious gap; a ‘future engine’ of global economy, says Aus Chamber of Commerce chief

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

India’s continuing absence from APEC was a serious gap in its membership, and one that should be remedied by APEC leaders, said Peter Hardy, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in The Australian Financial Review (3/9/2007, p.B15).

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Energy, International, Policy, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

South Australia demand side policy halves Adelaide city use

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

South Australian Premier Mike Rann praised South Australians for their water conservation efforts while giving details of eased domestic water restrictions to the South Australian House of Assembly on 11 September 2007.

sawater_cuts.jpeg Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Demand Side, Domestic, Drought, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, SA, South Australia, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Murray Darling Armageddon: Ministers agree to drain and block 44 wetlands and build a new weir at Wellington

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Like the Mayan collapse, it appeared the Murray Darling Basin was in armageddon mode. The long-predicted climatic change appeared to have come early. The Declaration by the the three States, was released by the Prime Minister, who under the just-passed Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers, 20 September 2007.

44 wetlands to die, with more to come: Plans were listed for the death of 44 wetlands with more to come “Senior officials will continue to review the extent to which further wetland disconnection for the purposes of contingency planning is recommended in the Murray System in 2007-08.

Without precedent: “We are facing a spring and summer on the Murray like no other since Hume Dam was completed in 1936,” Chief Executive Dr Wendy Craik AM said today. “The unprecedented combination of both low storage levels and low inflows will require us to operate outside our normal operating regime.”

The Overview Report to First Ministers said: “Disconnection of regulated wetlands to save water in the system continues in each State”:

• The NSW Government temporarily disconnected one regulated wetland (Tareena Billabong) in June 2007. At Euston Lakes evaporation savings will be achieved via lowering of the weir pool. This will have the same effect as disconnecting these wetlands.

• In South Australia, twenty-seven wetlands were closed in January 2007 and two additional wetlands (Ross and Jaeschke Lagoons) were disconnected in June 2007.

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources determined on 24 August 2007 that the temporary disconnection of a further seven wetlands in South Australia does not need approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) (EPBC Act).

• The Murray-Darling Basin Commission has agreed to funding disconnection of six of these wetlands, including the provision of alternative water supplies for existing users;

• The Victorian Government has completed a preliminary assessment of potential wetlands for temporary disconnection.

Temporary weir near Wellington: After a referral by South Australia, the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Water Resources has determined that the construction of a temporary weir near Wellington is a controlled action for the purposes of the EPBC Act. The temporary weir is to be assessed at the level of an Environmental Impact Statement. The South Australian Government will make an announcement regarding the weir during September 2007.

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, Project Approvals, River Murray, SA, Victoria, water, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »