With the drought hitting irrigators on the Murray side of the range, and Snowy Hydro finding it doesn’t have enough water to generate the power it wants, Politicians are reneging on their legal promise to restore some water to the gasping Snowy River.
We’ve always known politicians’ promises don’t count for much, but now they even seem to be thumbing their noses at their legal obligations. It’s been five years since a cross-border agreement was reached to return 28% of natural flows to the Snowy River. There was to be 15% returned by 2009, but since 2002 sweet f.a. has happened.
Now the Feds are talking about fixing up the Murray/Darlings’ problems! Yeah, sure.
Five years ago, our governments legislated to establish the Snowy Scientific Committee to research and advise governments on the river’s environmental flows. This legal promise has never been honoured. The planned release of water for 2007/2008 will be just 3.5% from the Jindabyne dam. It’s a long way from the guarantee to put back 28% by 2012.
Water from the Mowamba Aqueduct was given back to the Snowy in August 2002 amidst great pomp and ceremony. Bob Carr, Steve Bracks and yes, Peter Garrett, were there to offer media photo opportunities. But in January this year, Snowy Hydro Ltd took the water back again by turning the aqueduct back on. The Snowy is still craving for that drink it was promised five years ago.