In 1999, Steve Bracks’ Labor Party won government in Victoria on a commitment to return 28% mean annual natural flow (MANF) to the Snowy River below Jindabyne Dam. Legislation was passed in 2002 to return 21% by 2012.
“However, more than ten years on the Snowy River is still running on empty,” said Mr. John Gallard, Chair of Snowy River Alliance.
“The recent short-lived releases from Jindabyne Dam earlier this month combined with additional releases in April 2011 will bring the total annual flow for 2010-11 to the Snowy River below Jindabyne Dam up to only 6%.”
“At the same time, the Snowy River above Jindabyne Dam in Kosciuzko National Park remains a dry stony riverbed. This section of the Snowy River has received no environmental flow whatsoever even though releases were scheduled to begin in 2007/08.”
“It is highly likely that Snowy below Jindabyne Dam will never get more than 15% MANF in the long-term despite the Premier’s statement that government is on track to deliver on the 21% by 2012, as a significant proportion of the water savings acquired by Water for Rivers for the Snowy are low reliability entitlements that will rarely deliver any real water to the river.”
“Eleven years ago there was a change of government in Victoria on the basis of a promise to restore 28% MANF to the Snowy River, well now it is time to deliver on that promise,” said Mr Gallard, “and give a clear commitment to return 28% in real water by 2015.”
“Snowy River Alliance calls on all candidates/parties to endorse the following four key actions required to rescue the Snowy River:
- Immediately decommission the Mowamba Aqueduct to provide a surrogate natural headwaters to the Snowy;
- Immediately deliver environmental flows to the Upper Snowy River in Kosciuzko National Park as required by the Snowy Water Licence;
- Deliver 21% MANF below Jindabyne Dam as ‘real water’ by 2012;
- Deliver 28% MANF to the Snowy by 2015.”