Water delivery issues went ‘through to the keeper’, according to Dennis Patterson

By Country News

The issue of water deliverability went "through to the keeper" when creating the Murray-Darling Basin Plan according to one Greater Shepparton City Council member.

Speaking at the Murray-Darling Association conference, Cr Dennis Patterson said the failure to properly address the issue had resulted in significant damage to both the Goulburn River and Barmah Choke.

“The Barmah Choke is worse off than before the plan,” Cr Patterson told the virtual conference.

Cr Patterson said record high inter-valley transfers had left the banks of the Goulburn River "soaked" for months and "decimated" its banks.

Ecologist Ian Davidson echoed Cr Patterson's concerns and said the Barmah Choke was a "complete disaster" with many of the outer banks eroding.

“Ecologically there's a lot of risks,” he said.

“In the past 20 to 25 years ... there's 20 per cent less volume you can get down the choke.

“There's a whole bunch of SDL projects being implemented ... Barmah is not one of them. To me that shows an unawareness of what's happening locally.

“To me it shows that governments are not taking it seriously.”

While Mr Davidson said restricting flows was part of the answer, more needed to be done as demand for the water downstream would not reduce.

He held concerns for what could happen if the issue was not better addressed.

“What could happen is we could get a flood event and the river could break its bank and head off in any direction ... It would be an ecological disaster and wipe out a large amount of infrastructure downstream.”