Country News

Patto’s on the job

By The General

The Boss was pleased to see Greater Shepparton City Council taking a stand on the amount of water being forced down the river at the wrong time of year.

This happened after Cr Dennis Patterson raised the issue at the the recent Murray Darling Association National Conference.

Patto has been a great ally to the river, The Boss reckons - and the river needs allies right now.

Patto drew attention to the massive amount of water sent down as inter-valley transfers earlier this year, from the end of January until May.

This kept the river a couple of metres higher than normal summer level for three months - and completely destroyed the vegetation cover created by environmental flows over the previous two years.

You might have heard the Boss going on about it a few years before that, when he reckons the Environmental Water Holder didn't know what he was doing and caused some bank and tree collapses.

"But he's learned quite a bit, General," he tells me. "And now all this extra water is undoing all the good."

Patto's motion at the conference had the state water minister asking questions and The Boss was annoyed to see Goulburn Murray Water assuring her that all this water - about 300 billion litres over the year - could be handled by the river without causing damage.

"Where did that come from?" he asks me. "And whose side are they on?"

The Boss reckons people at the Catchment Management Authority - who he says have a much better grip on the health of the river - think the river can safely handle about half of that. And The Boss agrees.

It would be okay if it came down in an over-bank lump in winter or spring, he says - but it all comes down in a medium-flow at the worst time of year. 

"There is no time for the river to recover and we're headed for trouble," he says.

So Patto's on the job, Patto's the man. Patto for PM I say - everyone else seems to have had a go. Woof!