Dead in the water?

The vultures continue to circle over the ailing Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Following on from last week’s resignation of MDB Authority Chair Mike Taylor (see my 10 Dec blog) Jock Laurie, Chair of the powerful National Farmers Federation, yesterday declared the basin planning process, quite literally, dead in the water.

Laurie is quoted in today’s press as saying the ‘Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan’ (see my 15 Oct blog) was “riddled with holes” and should be abandoned.

Meanwhile, South Australian water minister Paul Caica has made it clear that his state, at the bottom end of the 3750 km (2300 miles) long river system, ” …….will maintain a steely resolve about the future of the Basin system, the plan that’s required to maintain its health, and have a more reasoned debate”

Concerns about poor ecological health and lack of river inflows to South Australia’s Lower Lakes and Coorong (the Ramsar lake and wetland complex where the Murray-Darling system reaches the sea) have been at the heart of the debate over the imbalance between human and environmental water use in the Murray-Darling.

So, in spite of the NFF’s call for the death-blow to be delivered by Federal water minister Tony Burke, the MDB Plan is, like Terry Jones in Monty Python’s classic ‘Holy Grail’, not dead yet! Mind you, I don’t think it is “feeling better” either, and I am not overly confident of a miraculous recovery.

State and Federal water ministers are meeting today in Albury to discuss what to do next.  More on the outcomes of those talks next week.

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