Blog | 25th May, 2011

Tracking the ordeal of science and the Basin Plan

“Worst-case scenario is that in five or six years’ time when we have another drought we’ll be in the same situation as we are now, we’ll be seeing the same impacts as we have seen in the recent drought. We will have spent $10 billion. We’ll have a hell of a lot more irrigation infrastructure that we have to support and pay for. I don’t think it’s a good outcome for anyone.”
Tim Stubbs, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists

Late last week, a group of leading scientists stepped back from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan reform process.

Not only do the Wentworth Group of scientists say the plan is flawed, they also claim it will be a waste of billions of taxpayer dollars as returning too little water to the environment won’t rescue the ailing river system.

The group said the MDBA is now aiming to return less than 3,000 gigalitres to the system following the angry protests by irrigators last year.

Rumours that only between 2,000 and 3,000 GL of water will be returned to rivers via the Basin Plan will spell disaster for the rivers.

The Wentworth Group say that no less than 4,000 GL of water should be returned to rivers.

We concur, and know many of you do too as last year you signed our “Guide to the Basin Plan online petition: A good start, but already a compromise” where we all called for at least 4,000 GL of water to be returned to rivers.

The 7:30 Report covered the issue on Monday night. Detailing why the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists have stepped back from discussions about the new water sharing plan because they believe the environment will be denied the water it needs.

In that segment, Authority Chairman Craig Knowles said “I’m yet to land on any numbers. I’m yet to conclude my processes. Science is important, but so are other things.” So if you haven’t already, tell him what you think – sign our online petition.

Breaking news today confirms the weekend’s rumours. Apparently the MDBA’s own science points to less than 3,000 GL of water being returned to the rivers of the Basin.

Yesterday at a Senate Estimates Committee the authority confirmed that a figure of 2,800 gigalitres was being considered. This falls well short of the 4,000GL gigalitres that independent scientists say is needed to revive the system.

Speaking up for our rivers, and calling for a fair share to total available water to be returned to them, is more important than ever.