News | 23rd Aug, 2010

Easing of water restrictions raises pipeline questions

Tuesday, 23 August 2010
ABC News

pponents of Victoria's North South Pipeline say the easing of water restrictions in Melbourne has raised serious concerns about the use of the controversial pipeline.

The government announced yesterday Melbourne will return to Stage Two restrictions from September the first.

The city's storages are now at about 40 percent.

The North South Pipeline was built between the Goulburn River and Melbourne's Sugarloaf Reservoir to bolster Melbourne's dwindling water supplies.

Jan Beer from Plug the Pipe says the pipeline shouldn't be operating.

"Why continue to take it from the Goulburn when Melbourne has certainly more than enough in its own catchment," she said.

"That water should be staying in our catchment for further food production."

But John Woodland from Melbourne Water says the pipeline is still needed.

"One of the reasons our storages are up at where they are in their recovery is the fact that we have put in place new infrastructure like the Sugarloaf pipeline," he said.

"So they are certainly important in helping our storages recover."

Yarra flows

Environment group are calling on the state government to lift water flow restrictions on the Yarra River, in line with restrictions being lifted for Melbourne residents.

Environment Victoria Chief Executive Kelly O'Shannessey says 10 billion litres of environmental flows are being denied to the Yarra every year.

She is calling on the government to address the issue, ahead of November's state election.

"They still are withholding some of the Yarra's environmental water, as they have been doing for a number of years now," she said.

"They still owe about 10 billion litres of water to the Yarra, and we think it's important the Yarra gets that water.

"I imagine, if Melburnians had a choice between a healthy river and whether they could wash their cars, a lot of people would be saying look you know, I've been getting by and I want our Yarra River protected."