Baird condemns the Darling River to death with $500 million panic pipeline
MEDIA RELEASE – 16 June 2016
The Greens NSW water spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today accused Premier Mike Baird of condemning the Darling River to death, by committing to a $500 million pipeline from the Murray River to supply Broken Hill, rather than spend money and create policies to revive the Darling River as Broken Hill’s water supply.
“This is a tragic day for the Darling River and Menindee Lakes. Today Mike Baird has confirmed the worst fears of those living in Broken Hill and the far West. Building this pipeline facilitates the Darling River being sucked dry by upstream irrigators without causing water problems for Broken Hill,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“The National Party has always wanted to hand over more water from the Darling to cotton irrigation, and now they’ve convinced Mike Baird to lay down $500 million to make it happen without the headache of Broken Hill running out of water.
“Burning through a huge amount of money for a panic pipeline which will not solve the water crisis is the wrong way to go. The government should be committing to policies and works that will revive the Darling River and make the Menindee Lakes more efficient.
“The Greens believe the answer is to revive the Darling River. To implement policies to ensure surface water flows down the Darling from small and medium rain events, rather than having all the water taken by irrigators in Southern Queensland and NSW.
“The Greens believe the $500 million should instead be spent on infrastructure works to make the Menindee Lakes System more efficient, including raising Weir 32, installing a regulator between Lake Menindee and Lake Cawndilla, and buying back Cubbie Station or at least some of their water rights to return flows to the river.
“The death of the Darling River has been caused by human mismanagement. Today’s announcement only facilitates more mismanagement to the detriment of Broken Hill, all those who appreciate and rely on the Darling River, and the environment.”