Questions raised on sudden 9% increase to Barwon-Darling water cap

MEDIA RELEASE – 11 December 2014

The Greens NSW water spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has today called on Water Minister Kevin Humphries to explain a sudden 9% increase in the maximum water available to irrigators in the Barwon-Darling River water source, given that this is an already overstressed river system which is currently in the grip of a serious drought.

“It’s certainly a surprise that in the middle of a serious drought, and in an already over-stressed river system, Kevin Humphries as Minister for Water has suddenly found modelling which suggests that a 9% increase to the water cap is possible,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The question needs to be asked: Has Kevin Humphries taken a generous interpretation of the modelling for the appropriate level of extraction in the Barwon-Darling River to ensure that irrigators are given more water?

“After 15 years of debate on the level of the cap for this river, Kevin Humphries has today conveniently found in favour of irrigators at the expense of the environment, flood plain graziers and downstream users, such as the towns of Wilcannia, Menindee, Broken Hill and Pooncarie.

“People are questioning whether Kevin Humphries truly has the interests of his entire electorate at heart, or is simply the Minister for his irrigator mates.

“Kevin Humphries needs to come clean with the people of Broken Hill and explain why he has suddenly approved an increase of 16,000 megalitres to the maximum water available to irrigators every year in the Barwon-Darling River, while they are forced onto water restrictions and may have to drink bore water due to the mismanagement of the Menindee Lakes system by his government.

“Broken Hill’s water supply is now threatened by blue-green algae, so not only is this a questionable decision, but the timing is insensitive,” Mr Buckingham said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

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