Help save the Darlng River

Submitted: Monday, Mar 12, 2018 at 13:14
ThreadID: 136400 Views:3482 Replies:5 FollowUps:14
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Pleas pass this around your social media networks. The Darling River is being destroyed by water theft. We ALL need to be concerned.
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Save the Murray Darling Basin.
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Monday, Mar 12, 2018 at 15:47

Monday, Mar 12, 2018 at 15:47
facebook seems to think this is a new problem.
AnswerID: 617511

Follow Up By: Glen M3 - Monday, Mar 12, 2018 at 20:01

Monday, Mar 12, 2018 at 20:01
Thanks Ivan for being so positive about a real problem.
How we get the information out to the public should not come into question.
Facebook is a social media outlet just like TV. Radio and the good old daily paper.

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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Mar 12, 2018 at 16:27

Monday, Mar 12, 2018 at 16:27
A number of Facebook groups, some going back years, on the Murray Darling and on specifically the Darling,. Yes, the murder has been slow and painful.

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Follow Up By: mike39 - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 08:20

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 08:20
We were regular fishing visitors to the Darling river up and downstream of Bourke from around 45 years ago.
Cotton irrigation was developing rapidly with huge diesel/pump units drawing directly from the river. During the course of a weeks camping there was always at least one day when the Darling would run backwards due to the volume of water being pumped out upstream of our location.
I don't recall there being any metering on the water extraction.
These days much of the problem occurs by natural flood waters being illegally re directed into private storage facilities.
Water essential for the flow of the rivers is simply not getting there.
I saw that somewhere a 50km. long levy had been built to facilitate flood diversion into storage ponds.
With todays satellite surveillance technology, none of this illegality should be tolerated and the culprits prosecuted....but hey, money talks where it counts.
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Reply By: AlanTH - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 10:08

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 10:08
No Aussie mateship between the cotton and rice irrigators and people down stream.
If it passes through their property then it must be theirs, right?
Haven't the Feds tried to sort this a few times but the hordes of different state bureaucraps and the never ending self interest always defeats any real attempt to do something meaningful?
AnswerID: 617522

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 11:39

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 11:39
Why are we growing rice in Western NSW anyway? A place that is marginal, verging on desert.

1)The irrigation comes from a river system that has been destroyed by over use
2)It takes 2500 to 5000 liters of water to grow each kilogram of rice.
3)About 78% of a rice growers income comes from government subsidies.
4Around 80% of Australian rice is exported to the Middle east and Asia.

Cotton takes around 10,000 liters of water per kilo.

Why not just buy Thai rice where they can economically produce it in areas that flood and without government handout. Like it was always supposed to be.

Our farmers are subsidised so they can compete with asian grown rice in Asia. Farmers who get $10 per day.

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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 15:40

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 15:40
Spot on Tony !!
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Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 18:45

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 18:45
Tony, there is one simple word for what is happening. Greed

The secondary word for the users of the water is. Stupidity

The final word is jobs, jobs, jobs (polly speak) until we destroy the river that is sustaining those jobs and the surrounding country.

Pollies, bring on more fracking, so we can send more dead water south.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 19:30

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 19:30
Tony, I think some of your statistics may not be right

As far as I am aware Australian Rice Farmers receive no Government subsidies, please correct me if I am wrong
The most recent year statistics are available (2016-17), Australia imported as much rice as it exported, about 170 000T imported and exported
Your 80% exported statement would have been the case in 1960s and 70s
Murray and MIA farmers are switching from rice to other crops which provide a higher $ return per litre of water, like Cotton and Almonds
Farmers are extracting less water from the Murray-Darling Basin than a decade ago.
I'm not buying into the argument over what is a fair balance, that should be left to Scientists at the Murray Darling Basin Authority and should be regulated by Federal Agencies instead of state ones.

I see what goes down my part of the Murray Darling Basin every day, for the past few months it's been a bare trickle and there are very few irrigators upstream of where I live. A bit of rain would help (I hope this image comes through)
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Follow Up By: JR - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 20:57

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 20:57
Being unregulated river, the Darling doesnt contribute much to the system, with or without irrigators and what it does run is highly unreliable due to drought. Near total loss to inland rivers that go nowhere and lakes which evaporate in many years. It has always dried up for long periods.
They arent unimportant but the link to flow down Darling into SA isnt logical
Theres no rice in western NSW or on the Darling
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 22:57

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018 at 22:57
Cubbie Station.....a farm which Australia should have bought...."only" uses between 200,000 to 500,000 megalitres, more than ALL of the downstream users combined.
They are "rightfully" using all that water, and they're looking for water theft from other sources ??
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Follow Up By: JR - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 09:59

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 09:59
Yes they can use a lot of water but only allowed to take when river is flooding. Don't confuse storage capacity with annual usage. They go for many years taking nothing.
The overland flow capturing in QLD is very different problem to irrigators on the Darling however both have a legal right to do so. Going to be expensive to unravel and will not make the river flow any more often.
If they are taking illegally it should be prosecuted, no question.

The point is the water they are taking is highly unlikely to flow down to lower reaches of Darling anyway, let alone SA.
Shutting down these high flow users doesn't make the unregulated river flow more often, they only take a small portion of vast flows when flood is on.
Without dams (even more dirty concept to many) the river will still flood and then dry up for years.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 10:12

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 10:12
@JR "Without dams (even more dirty concept to many) the river will still flood and then dry up for years."

Which is exactly what it is supposed to do - unfortunately the Queenslanders reduce take an amount of water that reduces the flood so reduces flows overall.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 21:50

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 21:50
You might find Cubbie pumps on average 200,000 megalitres. Obviously more during high flows.
Just because they take it legally, and they are by far the biggest users of water, does that make the small fry taking it "illegally" look all that bad ??

If you pump out massive amounts of water, it must affect the flow downstream.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 22:04

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 22:04
We had friends on the Culgoa, downstream from Cubbie. They lived there for about 15-20 years, and for ten years after Cubbie began irrigating, they didn't get a single flood come down the Culgoa.

No doubt there were channels runs, but these do little for production, other than to replenish waterholes, helping aquatic life and providing water for livestock.

With Qld being in drought, up to 80% of the state, for 5-7 years, there hasn't been an excess of flow coming out of the Sunshine State.


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Reply By: Genny - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 13:36

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 13:36
I'm more than a little uncomfortable with the idea of people claiming ownership of water that falls from the sky on another persons property. I believe there is a lot of angst in S.A. with this very concept.

Going down that path, if others claim ownership of the water that falls from the sky, then they should be responsible for all damage that water does.
AnswerID: 617546

Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 14:01

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 14:01
I remember a few years ago during a drought the premier of SA complained about Qld, NSW and Vic taking SAs water. A few weeks later the rivers were in flood thanks to Qld letting its flooding rains flow across the border.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 14:19

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 14:19
Unfortunately for Genny, he/she needs to be educated into understanding that "water and river rights" are a very developed concept all through the developed world.

During the development of America, there were actual small-scale wars between property owners fighting over available water in creeks and rivers.
As a result, highly-developed water laws were embedded into American laws - and we also have water laws along much of the framework of English Common Law ...

"... At common law, any rights to water must be claimed, based on a claim against the land over which water flows or rests.
A downstream landowner can bring an action against an upstream owner for excessively diminishing the quantity and quality of water arriving at a downstream location."

I'm not familiar with all the Eastern States laws - but in general, in Australia, depriving downstream landowners of water by excessive damming and diversion of water, is an offence against many water use, and water rights, acts of legislation.

There are innumerable acts of legislation in Australia specifying exactly who can take water from where, and how much of that water they can have.

Even in the remotest parts of the interior of W.A., water of any type (surface or underground, and fresh or salt) can still be tightly controlled and allocated by the Govt.

I found out many many years ago, when re-treating gold tailings in the W.A. goldfields, that there were far-reaching State water laws, that stopped me from even drawing salt and brackish water from abandoned mineshafts, without applying for a licence, and obtaining Govt approval to do so.

There's a major distinction between water that is falling from the sky, and water that is actually on the ground.
Once water is on the ground, it is a claimable resource.

To try and make landowners responsible for flooding caused by excessive rainfall is not a principle that would stand for 5 seconds, under any kind of legal scrutiny - unless the flooding is caused by the landowners water-harvesting works or damming, on his land.

In general, water harvesting and damming are generally works that lead to reduced amounts of flooding, downstream.
The responsibilities of landowners carrying out damming, is that the works must meet proper engineering standards, to reduce the risk of losses caused by dams bursting under flood conditions.

However, upstream from any water harvesting works or damming, the landowners responsible for the water harvesting or damming, must also be held accountable for any losses caused to upstream landowners, in the event of flooding caused by that harvesting or damming.

Accordingly, water harvesting and damming plans are fairly tightly controlled, and water and other authorities generally have a great deal of control over these types of works.

It's when carefully-crafted water laws are disobeyed by people with no respect for water laws, that disagreements and anger ensue.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Genny - Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 15:47

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 at 15:47
I made no statement about damming watercourses, nor affecting upstream landholders. I referred only to management of water falling on a landholders property.

Much of that land out there is as dry as a dead dingo's donger - there simply has been buggerall rain for years.

In times of shortage it's pretty easy for the grasshoppers to point their fingers and blame the ants.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.

We're in the drought phase, perhaps Linda will provide the flooding rains.
Here's hoping :)
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