Opinion

Letters to the Editor.

By Country News

MDBA failing in its water responsibilities

Two years ago I railed against the Murray-Darling Basin Authority for its poor river management which resulted in an unnecessary, catastrophic flood and a range of unacceptable environmental consequences.

Now we have the opportunity to question its ability to manage the resource and the river during a dry time.

The one thing that remains clear is the MDBA is unable to fulfil its responsibilities and we are left with disgruntled and angry communities and environmental disasters.

The MDBA now need to fess up and start taking proactive steps to address the damage which has been caused over the past decade, instead of blaming everything else.

Leadership is about accepting responsibility and providing unity and cohesive solutions in difficult times; attributes that are currently lacking.

In a recent interview Phillip Glyde, chief executive of the MDBA, said the basin plan was ‘‘trying to correct 100 years of over-allocation’’.

The recent fish kills should be telling authorities that their management of the water resource over the past decade is making the system worse, not better.

In 94 of the 100 years that the system was supposedly over-allocated there were recordings of fish kill deaths but none were of the magnitude of those we’ve seen recently, including the devastating event in the Menindee Lakes.

Blackwater events have also increased.

Since 2009 there have been four major hypoxic blackwater events in the Edward and Wakool river systems, killing hundreds of thousands of native fish.

The authorities first used flooding as their excuse, now drought is their excuse.

The only major change in the past 10 years, compared to the rest of the past century, has been the 2007 Water Act and the fact that the major owner of water is the Commonwealth Government.

This has led to a major change in the management of the river systems.

It used to be run by the states but now is under the control of the Commonwealth and MDBA. It seems pretty obvious that’s where the problem lies.

The question needs to be asked, where has all the water gone?

In late 2016 we had floods and most of the basin was at 100 per cent capacity, with Menindee Lakes at 96.5 per cent.

Just over two years later these lakes are nearly empty and we have what is being termed a natural disaster on a global scale.

But it’s not a natural disaster, it’s a man-made disaster.

I would ask all agricultural representative bodies — the NFF, NSW Farmers, National Irrigators, NSW Irrigators — to call for the resignation of Mr Glyde as chief executive of the MDBA and Neil Andrews as chairman of the same body.

—Harold Clapham

Deniliquin


Water prices are hitting farmers hard

I only write letters when there is a definite need for such an idea that I have.

Now, water has many values.

I believe $80 to $85 per megalitre is the maximum price Australian farmers and their workers should be paying for such an item.

It costs $400 for a bale of lucerne and at present water is over $400/Ml.

This is very unfair to everybody involved in the process of farming. The squeeze is on for our food producers.

As a farmer soldier in the Australian forces who trained at the time of the Vietnam War, I really appreciated the free water in my water bottle, as would those who actually fought for our community.

Water is such a necessary item for our economy. If God charged everyone for each rain drop or flooding rain, wouldn’t there be an uproar?

—Rodger Medro

Kyabram