Water

Chief happy with basin plan savings

By Country News

MDBA chief executive Phil Glyde is concerned by the Murray Declaration calling for the suspension of work on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

‘‘This would risk returning the future of our nation’s most important water resource, and the communities and industries that rely on it, to a state of uncertainty and peril,’’ Mr Glyde said.

‘‘Claims that the plan’s investment in more modern and efficient water infrastructure is not delivering benefits for the environment are simply not true.

‘‘So far, basin plan water infrastructure efficiency programs have recovered over 700Gl of water for the environment. These are genuine water savings transferred to the Commonwealth in the form of water entitlements.

‘‘In total, we have now achieved almost all the water recovery required under the plan, with more than 2100Gl of water recovered for the environmental health of the river system.

‘‘That’s more than 2100Gl of water that will be delivered back to the environment every year, on average, and is equivalent to more than four times the volume of Sydney Harbour.

‘‘The basin plan was neither expected nor intended to deliver immediate results. It is simply not possible to repair 100 years of damage to such a vast river system overnight or even within five years.’’

Mr Glyde said a progress report on the plan’s first five years found that where environmental water was able to be delivered, there were positive ecological responses.

‘‘Environmental water has been used in over 750 planned watering events in the past four years, with environmental water holders working together to get water to priority areas at the right time,’’ Mr Glyde said.