NSW irrigators back special flood flow to SA

20 Jan, 2010 09:53 AM

IRRIGATORS are backing a special political deal between NSW and South Australia which will see extra floodwaters head to the parched Lower Lakes.

While the NSW Government insisted last week it would not be sending more water to South Australia than it was entitled to, agreement was reached yesterday to allow 100 gigalitres of water which would otherwise have evaporated in Menindee keep flowing to South Australia.

On top of that, 48 gigalitres already earmarked for the Lakes in the Living Murray Agreement will also make its way South.

Plus Federal Water Minister Penny Wong has announced this morning a further 20GL of environmental water will flow down the Lower Lakes, following a decision by the independent Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

Irrigators in NSW say the deal is a sensible one.

NSW Irrigators Council chief executive officer, Andrew Gregson, said had that water not been released, it would need to be stored in Lake’s Menindee or Cawndilla, which would result in very significant evaporation losses, "which is clearly not in the interest of any State", Mr Gregson said.

The agreement technically takes place outside the water sharing arrangements which kick in after Menindee Lakes reach 640 gigalitres, but is no more than what would have been made available had that agreement kicked in.

Mr Gregson said whilst irrigators in NSW never like to see their water flow past them, they recognise that responsibility for the health of the entire Murray-Darling Basin system lies with everyone.

"The deal that has been announced is a sensible sharing of limited resources. Officials from both States are to be congratulated for having come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion," he said.

Senator Wong said the Commonwealth expected the additional water to start flowing into the Lower Lakes from March, providing welcome relief to the ailing Lower Lakes.

FarmOnline National News Bureau, Parliament House, CanberraSource: http://www.farmonline.com.au
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Ian Mott
21/01/2010 8:25:33 AM

So evaporation from NSW lakes is bad while evaporation from SA lakes is good? Give us a break. Remove the barrages and a normal full moon tidal variation of 1.05 metres will flush more than 40% of the volume of the original estuary. None of this additional fresh water will get anywhere near the Southern Coorong lagoon, where it is needed most, because there are no works in place to get it there. Indeed, the barrage makes it even less likely. So we are continually regaled with lurid tales of salinity levels 5 to 7 times higher than sea water without any explanation of how this valuable additional fresh water will fix the problem. And all this time there have been billions of gigalitres of water that is 5 to 7 times less salty just a kilometre away across the dunes. The total volume of this lagoon in summer is only 93,000ml so a 50% flush with sea water each year could be delivered by just 3, 1km, pipes of 1.6m diameter, flowing for just 6 hours each day on the highest tide. There would not even be a pumping cost.
21/01/2010 8:34:51 AM

From a SA farmer- great to see our NSW colleagues helping the river flow - even a little- thanks. g
21/01/2010 9:43:53 AM

Well done Ian. Sounds like an imaginative suggestion which would work. Please come up with some ideas to put more fresh water into all the rivers so there is enough for everyone. Ultimately that is what is required.


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