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Archive for the ‘Wetlands’ Category

Armageddon mode: South Australia stops River Murray water flow into Lake Bonney, as moves to disconnect 27 wetlands, to secure downstream flow

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

According to townspeople in Barmera, the State Government’s stoppage of River Murray water flow into Lake Bonney on Tuesday was the “death knell” for Barmera, reported Doug Robertson, in The Advertiser, (27/09/2007, p.18).

Residents contemplate class action: Save Lake Bonney Group organiser Mark Beech, who ran Barmera Backpackers, said business people in the town were considering a class action against the Government for economic loss. He said Lake Bonney would be “dead” if the fresh water supply was cut off for several months.

Supplies cut: Earthmoving equipment moved in on Tuesday, making a 20 metre “temporary” earth barrier across Chambers Creek near Nappers Bridge, about 5 kilometre from the town centre. The Government had cut off River Murray water at 27 sites.

Govt defends action: State Water Security Minister Kaylene Maywald said discontinuing River Murray water from wetlands and lagoons was an emergency response to the drought.

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Posted in australia, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, Evaporation, Murray Darling Basin, South Australia, Wetlands | 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 »

NSW, Victoria, South Australia policy-makers drought-panic leads to weasel words and tricky accounting

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

States have made a Declaration of emergency which requires to draining of more than 30 wetlands in the Murray Darling Basin to service Town Water and some irrigation. The Prime Minister’s release of the Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report, September 2007 showed panic-moves to respond to worst case of a dry Murray Darling system, with water below intakes, and with what water was left – so saline,  as to, poison crops. Each state had moved into last-ditch-measures mode, and tricky accounting was disguised with weasel word as all States agreed to change rules and use bureaucratic-speak to hide the take of the last water in the system – the wetlands and ‘environmental flows’ – needed to keep the river system alive. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Environmental Flows, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, Victoria, water, Water Wars, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

April 2008 Murray system disaster forecast; tree deaths, massive fish deaths, as water falls below the intake-pipes

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Water-levels below Lock 1 were projected to fall from their current level of 0.25m Australian Height Datum (AHD), to negative 0.6m AHD in April 2008. Under these projected conditions, massive fish death in the Lower Lakes is more likely. For the worst case scenario, water levels will continue to fall, reaching negative 1.5m AHD in the latter half of 2008. Salinity would rise and make what small irrigation water which was available, poisonous to crops and trees.

MDB levels

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Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Deforestation, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, Extinctions, Fauna, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Plantation forestry, South Australia, Uncategorized, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

More reuse of treated wastewater from the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant and harvesed stormwater, in South Australian project

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Various different groups in his electorate were looking at a project that involved extending the reuse of treated wastewater from the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant and harvesting stormwater from within the area bounded approximately by the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant catchment, said Labor MP Steve Georganas in the Federal House of Representatives on 14 August 2007.

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Posted in Effluent, Policy, SA, Stormwater, Waste Water, water, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

Qld: Warrego River water licence auction: Private trust backed by six environment groups to attempt to buy new water licences

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

A bid by the Nature Conservation Water Trust backed by six environment groups would attempt to buy new Warrego River water licences due to be auctioned by the Queensland Government next week – the first of its kind in Australia where a private group of conservationists would go head to head with agriculture businesses to buy water for the environment, reported The Sydney Morning Herald, (11/09/2007, p.7).
The last resort: “All other avenues have been closed off,” said Professor Richard Kingsford, a wetlands expert from the University of New South Wales who was advising the trust. “The auction date has inexorably been coming on us with no action to stop it.” The new trust’s backers included National Parks Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Inland Rivers Network and the Wilderness Society.

Trust raising $2.5m to secure licences: A member of the new water trust had registered to bid at the auction and Kingsford said it was now trying to raise $2.5 million in the next week to secure the licences. Some money had already been collected and local graziers were “handing around the hat”.

Pvt ownership may threaten wetlands: Kingsford was also concerned that if the water licences were bought by private irrigators the survival of the Warrego and the Paroo wetlands attached to it would be under threat from cotton and crop development. The Paroo was considered one of the last natural wetland refuges in New South Wales for many inland bird species, including brolgas, egrets and the speckled duck.

NSW graziers, environmentalists protest: The auction was being held just over the border from New South Wales and was being strongly opposed by New South Wales environmentalists and graziers who feared it would cut flows to flood-plain properties in north-western New South Wales outside Bourke.

Graziers to call upon Federal, Qld Govt: A meeting of local graziers would take place on Thursday where they would again call on the Federal and Queensland governments to halt the auction.

Turnbull urges Beattie to review decision: Last Friday the Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, made a plea to the outgoing Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, to review the auction. His assistant minister, the National Party’s John Cobb, called for the auction to be delayed, calling it “ridiculous”, while the former deputy prime minister John Anderson described the Queensland actions as “provocative and unhelpful”.

Last auction in the system: The auction of 8000 megalitres of water from the Warrego River on 18 and 19 September, by the State Government, would be the last water licence auction allowed on the Murray-Darling system.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 11/9/2007, p. 7

Posted in algae, nsw, Price, qld, water, Water Markets, Water Trade, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »