|MDBA set to sacrifice the Darling ?|
MEDIA RELEASE2nd August 2011
Recent comments from Dianne Davidson, a current member of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, suggest that the Authority is about to renege on its statutory responsibility to manage the entire river system in the national interest, according to environmental and public water-rights advocacy group, Fair Water Use.
When interviewed last week, Ms Davidson indicated that, under the terms of the revised Draft Basin Plan, the Authority will be “treating the northern and southern basins separately – differently” and that “sending water down the Darling in the hope that it goes out the Murray Mouth is really just that – it’s a hope.”
Fair Water Use issued the following statement this morning in response to this revelation:
Ms Davidson’s comments appear to imply that, under the new Draft Plan, the MDBA will be recommending that little effort be made to achieve environmentally sustaining flows down the Darling; flows that are required to allow the river to purge itself of its salt and toxin load – contamination largely resulting from inappropriate and poorly-regulated irrigation activity in its headwaters.
If this were the case, it would raise suspicions that the Authority was prepared to sacrifice the environmental health of the Darling to appease powerful corporate agribusinesses and outspoken irrigators who have bled that river dry for the last two decades or more, in a drive to grow cotton in semi-arid outback country.
In the current climate, governments may find it politically irresistible to annexe the Darling from the rest of the system, but to do so would demonstrate an astounding disregard for the future of a river of national significance.
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