Victoria’s leading environment group calls on the Victorian Government to abandon plans to suck billions of extra litres of water from Melbourne’s already-degraded river systems.
The first ever Sustainable Water Strategy – with a draft due for release next month – will decide the fate of the Yarra, Maribyrnong, Werribee, Barwon, Moorabool, Thomson and Macalister rivers.
Environment Victoria’s Healthy Rivers director Dr Paul Sinclair said water authorities were planning to take even more water than they currently use from our thirsty rivers.
Source: State Water Report 2003-4 DSE Water taken 2003/4 Amount that could be taken
Yarra River 438 billion litres No figure provided
Maribyrnong River 3 billion litres 8 billion litres
Barwon River (Geelong) 31 billion litres 55 billion litres
Werribee 10 billion litres 27 billion litres
Moorabool(Ballarat/Geelong) 23 billion litres 89 billion litres
The Department of Sustainability and Environment has refused to release details of how many litres of water could be taken from the rivers under the new strategy. Earlier DSE figures show the amount could be in the billions of litres.
“The Bracks Government promised at the last election to significantly improve the health of our rivers,’’ Dr Sinclair said. “You can’t do that by allowing water authorities to suck more water from our stressed rivers.
“No more water should be taken from Melbourne’s rivers. Instead the water Melburnians are working hard to save should be returned to the rivers to make them healthy.”
According to a recent assessment of river health by the Victorian Government:
“We’re starving our rivers of water. The loss of healthy rivers will have a dramatic effect on Melbourne’s quality of life and the health of our water supply,” Dr Sinclair said.
“The result will be rivers not fit for your families to fish, boat or swim in.”