LETTER: States need to get strict on water permits

HAS Helen Dalton (Sunraysia Daily, January 3) read the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 and has she read the Murray-Darling Basin Plan? Did she take part in the many consultations to set up the plan?

The plan to save the Murray-Darling’s water health and everything dependent upon it is a legal requirement under the Commonwealth Water Act and the plan to do this is called the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, not the Murray-Darling Plan as she states. The fact is the entire system has been and still is over-allocated because of states passing out water licences without a rigorous accounting of actual water.

The lower lakes, which include the Coorong, are Ramsar-listed wetlands. Australia has international obligations which they are signatory to regarding this and migratory species.

The water going out the mouth is not a waste, which Ms Dalton and others seem to imply. In fact it is flushing the entire system and that is the function of the river and associated wetlands.

She also does not seem to take into account that the water is simply not there. There must be a balance between environmental needs and human extractions and rigorously take into account climate change.

Humans have abused the entire system by over-extraction. The plan is to reset the balance so the environment gets its fair share, which Ms Dalton and others propose to deny it. Without a healthy Murray-Darling Basin system everything and everyone will suffer as we saw this during the Millenium drought. The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is required to be completed in full to reset the balance.

Business as usual is not an option and denying the facts without understating the consequences is not acceptable. The river does not belong to NSW or any of the other states. This is about sharing and rescuing an entire basin’s water system from degradation and human abuse before it is too late. Water is not a commodity. Ms Dalton needs to get her facts correct.

Maria Riedl,

Mildura

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