Environmental Farmers Network spokesperson John Pettigrew says “irrigators should embrace protecting the Murray-Darling’s water”
This article first appeared on the Crikey website on 25 January, 2012 – 11:58 am.
John Pettigrew, irrigator and spokesperson for the Environmental Farmers Network, writes: The highly anticipated draft basin plan quite simply misses the mark. The 2750 gigalitres Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) included in the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan appears to an arbitrary figure, a compromise as a result of pressure from vested interests to give socio-economic factors greater weighting than environmental factors in the draft Basin Plan. What this compromise fails to acknowledge is that there are no jobs — and no future — on a dead river.
Unfortunately the process used by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to achieve this arbitrary figure lacks the transparency needed for the community to clearly understand what constitutes the minimum science-based SDL required to protect and restore of the river system, and to what extent this figure has been discounted by social, economic and flow constraint considerations in the plan’s development.
Without this basic information and ability to track and judge the weighting given to these competing influences, informed community input has been made impossible.
For ongoing health, the Murray-Darling Basin needs at least the return of these minor floods to maintain fertility and provide the ecosystem services communities in the basin rely on.
Irrigator and Environmental Farmer's Network spokesperson John Pettigrew lives near Shepparton, VIC
This volume of 2750GL for the environment is clearly not supported by the best current scientific knowledge, is unlikely to comply with the Water Act 2007 and brings into question the responsible expenditure of taxpayer funds.
After 20 years of water reform and 12 months of good rainfall, irrigators have never been better placed to deal with the adjustments necessary to restore the Murray-Darling to health.
Read the full article on the Crikey website.
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