Victoria’s peak community environmental group, Environment Victoria, will present its views to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Inquiry into the proposed Murray Darling Basin Plan in Bendigo this Friday. Environment Victoria’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy and Healthy Rivers Campaign Manager Juliet Le Feuvre will tell the inquiry:
The recent spate of fish kills in the Goulburn, Loddon and Murray Rivers are a sign of poor river health and could have been prevented by regular environmental flows during the drought years. Providing regular smaller floods during dry years would flush organic matter through river systems more frequently, preventing the build up of carbon that causes ‘blackwater’ events.
Fears of massive new cuts to water entitlements are being exaggerated by some irrigator groups. In the Campaspe, Goulburn and Murray Rivers over half the water savings needed to meet the minimum environmental flows recommended by the MDBA are likely to be achieved through existing irrigation modernisation and water buyback programs.
The current floods in Victoria, while devastating, are not a reason to delay water reform efforts. Climate scientists tell us that in the coming decades rainfall in Victoria is likely to be more variable, but lower overall. We can be sure that the drought years will come again, and now is the time to prepare and adjust to protect the long-term health of the river system.
For interviews contact:
Juliet Le Feuvre, Healthy Rivers Campaign Manager on 0428 770 019
Media assistance: Louise Matthiesson on 0417 017 844