BORDER MANAGEMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
A briefing note for campaigners
of the Murray-Darling Basin flow through four States. Regulations
regarding the use of water differ from state to state.
The regulations in one state may be undermined by regulations
in another, or by no regulations. Provisions for cross-border
management are being discussed. There is need for a grass-roots
movement insisting on the need for such management structures.
Once again, the values that we wish to see preserved
in this matter are those of concern for our neighbour
and preservation of the integrity of creation.
An example of what should not happen
is the situation in relation to Narran Lakes in northern NSW,
between Walgett and Brewarrina.
This is an internationally listed wetlands area of high environmental
value. It is also an area of significance for local aboriginal
people. The Lakes are fed by the Narran River, a terminating
branch of the Balonne River, flowing from Queensland. Yet there
is no agreement between the Qld and NSW government regarding
water flowing into the Lakes. As a result, Cubby Station, which
is located in Dirranbandi in southern Queensland, close to the
Narran River, and is believed to be the biggest privately owned
cotton farm in the southern hemisphere, has a licence to extract
the equivalent of a Sydney Harbour-full of water each year. This
is endangering the Narran Lakes system. It is also depriving
downstream farmers of enough water for their operations.
is just one example, albeit a stark one, of the need for
water management structures that can reach across state borders.
are structures already in place which should ensure that situations
like the one described above do not occur. The Murray-Darling
Basin Agreement, to which Qld subscribed in 1996, is one of
these. Others exist in relation to the Paroo River,
between Qld and NSW and in relation to the waters flowing into
meeting in June 2004 agreed to establish a National Water Commission,
which should prove an important
bringing about better cross border water management.
is asking all candidates to support the development of
water management structures which will ensure that water
extractions from the upper regions of any catchment do
not disadvantage downstream users and are not of such
volume as to endanger ecosystems in the lower reaches
of the catchment.
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