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Water bird numbers down 70% in the Murray-Darling Basin over ~30 years (1 Viewer)

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Why a Wetland might Not be Wet

https://theconversation.com/why-a-wetland-might-not-be-wet-103687

Reminds me of one of the best bird sightings I have ever seen - a Brolga that pulled up once in 10 years in a little flooded ephemeral wetland the size of your lounge room, maybe a foot or so deep after record rains ..... hundreds of km's from recognized wetlands, though the old people tell me there were many in the area during suitable seasons /events, before draining, drying, and over grazing became common place.







Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Barwon-Darling river ecosystem on path to collapse, review warns

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"NSW Natural Resources Commission says plan for the Barwon-Darling needs urgent overhaul to save ecosystem ‘in crisis’ "
https://www.theguardian.com/austral...GAJ4xt4y65KgWXWtQyPjdmcdEcdcTjB9fwbL9mR7SYxiE

"The Murray-Darling river system managed by NSW – the Barwon-Darling – is “an ecosystem in crisis” which is on a path to collapse and urgent reforms are needed to save it, a review has warned.

The NSW Natural Resources Commission was asked to bring forward a statutory review of the Barwon-Darling by the previous minister Niall Blair, after ABC’s Four Corners aired allegations in 2017 of widespread water theft and another independent report raised serious doubts about the river’s management.

Since then there have been several mass fish deaths downstream at Menindee with two reviews identifying over-extraction by the cotton industry as the main cause.

Now the commission, a government body charged with managing the state’s resources, has warned the key plan for the Barwon-Darling is to blame and needs an urgent overhaul.

The Barwon-Darling water sharing plan covers the stretch of the river system running from the NSW-Queensland border through the main cotton growing areas around Walgett, Brewarrina and Bourke, and includes the stretch of the Darling down to Wilcannia. Menindee is further downstream in the Lower Darling, but is highly dependent on what happens upstream.

The Barwon-Darling plan has long been the target of environmental groups’ concerns because a lack of metering, and because it allowed irrigators to extract water during low-flow events at the expense of the environment.

The Natural Resources Commission agrees.

“There is an urgent need to remake the plan so the current trend of a river system heading towards collapse is reset and the river and its dependent species, communities and industries are put on a path towards long term health and resilience” said the commissioner, John Keniry.

The commission argued that an intense drought, significant volumes of upstream water extractions, an apparent climate shift and the rules within the plan have all contributed to insufficient ecological, social and cultural outcomes in the Barwon-Darling.

While the commission said there had been significant reform since 2017, it said steps to improve water management “needed to be accelerated and further extended”.

In particular, the commission identified that the plan failed to set specific ecological targets; that cease-to-pump rules were based on incomplete ecological data; and that the rules allowed increased volume and rate of extractions of water in low flows, which meant water often didn’t reach the lower reaches of the river.

“These provisions benefit the economic interests of a few upstream users over the ecological and social needs of the many,” the report said.

“There is clear evidence to indicate that the plan rules are resulting in more frequent and longer cease-to-flow periods.”


The report includes a detailed analysis of the periods where the river has ceased to flow – in 2013 it did not flow for 80 days – and concludes these are happening more often.

It calls on the government to factor in the uncertainties of climate change in the new plan.

The NSW Nature Conservation Council described the report as “a scathing report which places the blame for the ecological catastrophe we have seen unfold in the Darling squarely at the feet of the NSW government for allowing over-extraction by upstream irrigators.”

“The NSW government have failed to act in the interests of the communities and ecosystems that rely on a healthy river system and have instead created rules which allow irrigators to suck the river dry in times of drought,” CEO Kate Smolski said.

“The report also highlights the devastating effect that climate change will have on water availability in the catchment. It is clear that a comprehensive review of climate change impacts on water availability across the entire Murray-Darling Basin is needed.”

She called on the government to act swiftly to implement all the recommendations.

Comment has been sought from Cotton Australia.

The report was also very critical of the government’s failure to allocate water in line with Native Title. Indigenous communities along the Darling, which they call the Barka, have been calling for proper recognition of the cultural importance of the river through rights to water.

The commission said there had been progress made in the draft of the new plan for the Barwon-Darling, which is due to be lodged with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority soon. But it described this as a “ first step” and said many more changes were needed to protect low flows.

It wants the rule which allows irrigators to take water when flows are “imminent” scrapped.

It also says there needs to be specific allocations to Indigenous communities.

“The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people is strongly connected to the health of the river. Aboriginal community members repeatedly told the commission that the lack of flows since 2012 has resulted in poor water quality, an inability to swim or fish, damage to culturally significant places, lack of social cohesion and a decline in cultural practices.”


The commission has urged the NSW government to take a broader economic view when devising the new plan beyond the interests of irrigators.

“Its [the current plan’s] narrow focus on extractive uses such as irrigation ignores the potential costs and benefits to other local industries.”

“For example, stakeholders are concerned that the local pastoral, tourism and recreation industries are being impacted by poor water quality and water shortages. There are also costs borne by consumers and ratepayers associated with additional treatment or maintenance requirements from poor quality water, or the need to shift to alternative water sources such as tankered or bottled water.” "







Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Saving the Rivers from Corporates: Interview with Water Activist Bruce Shillingsworth

https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.c..._m3-Cb_T-R8ep17nFppgbp0jQ_hJXxLiikAY-SUCktyBY

"It’s the over pumping of the water: the irrigation. The big irrigators are taking a lot of the water out of the river. And not letting the river run freely. As quick as the flood comes down and the rivers fill up, the quicker they pump it out.....

The government needs to make some proper policies. We’ve got to stop these big irrigators. We’ve got to put limits on how much water they’re allowed to pump. We’ve got to make sure there’s water there for our communities. And make sure small farmers get a portion of that.

We need to look at the sharing of the water source. Not any particular group, but the big corporates are claiming our water systems. That’s what we’ve got to stop.


... it’s the Aboriginal communities that live along the western NSW rivers that are facing the worst of the local crisis. The traditional custodians have preserved the river system for tens of thousands of years. And they’re most aware that what’s happening now is an anomaly....

It is an emergency. I took my mother there just after the Christmas break. She’s 90 something. And she walked the river. She said that she’d never seen the river in that state in her lifetime. She lived on the river. She camped on the river.

It’s not just affecting First Nations people. It affects non-Indigenous people. But, First Nations peoples are getting the brunt of this, because 60 percent of our NSW population lives upon the river system – lives along the Murray-Darling. They spend most of their lives there.

They rely on that water. They rely on that river as a food source. A lot of the sacred sites are along the river. A lot of stories and knowledge that Aboriginal people have relates to the water...."








Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Another Layer of Bureaucracy - Just Add Water

More smoke and mirrors from the Australian Government .....
https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019...-darling-basin-integrity/11371966?pfmredir=sm
"Murray-Darling Basin Inspector-General to oversee water efficiency, compliance and allegations of theft"

Yes - bit who will be the Minister for Common Sense ? ...... the one that says - don't take more water out of the Basin than the environment can spare leaving enough functioning buffer to get us through the even harshest and most prolonged of droughts ....... :cat:





Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Platypus struggle to survive, with huge national decline over last 200 years,

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019...fp94sn9x-RB13Pjq_8zhdYgdhgAjUA6aRCJVUr2E0vitA

"Declines in Australia's platypus population have likely been underestimated, and may have halved since Europeans arrived, University of NSW scientists say.

Professor Richard Kingsford and his team from UNSW have been studying the platypus for the past four years.

"The figures are essentially telling us that there's been this huge decline in platypus numbers over the last 100 to 200 years and we're not really dealing with that," Professor Kingsford says.

The animal has disappeared from large areas, including the Murray-Darling Basin — with no official observations in the last 10 years in half of the catchments of the basin."










Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
"to change where we're at, I believe, is just an exercise in common sense"

Title quote by Peter Andrews OAM, founder of Natural Sequence Farming, who goes on to say:
... "that what's happening and what the government's are doing is fundamentally illegal against the Constitution" ...

Compare the current disastrous state of the Murray Darling Basin and the desertification that is being created by man - to the lush vegetation as shown in this video of a natural system, restored to how it would have been for thousands and thousands of years before European agricultural practices were forced on the land.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uUDxycp7ayk




Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
After last summer's disastrous fish kills of near century old Murray Cod, we have reports that even those survivors that have been translocated to other parts of the system are now dying too.

Another hot dry summer (as predicted) could bring a local extinction event ...... over an area the size of France and Germany combined ! :eek!:

Amid the madness of diverting and extracting precious water from this beautiful system we have calls to build more dams. That will only exacerbate the problem.

The floodplain soils and ephemeral wetlands are meant to drip feed the system like a sponge - it is never meant to dry out even in drought. Inappropriate agricultural techniques have dried the land and made droughts worse.

https://theconversation.com/amp/the...lwIiK5x_maX7Cu4N9KhNZ-EBsujsopm5Up6mQ3-7XHFAs






Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Q & A - "The Drought"

ABC TV program "Q & A" hosted a panel consisting of politicians, independent whistle-blower, president of the national farmers federation, and community representative, in front of a live studio audience, and also with some pre-recorded and presubmitted public questions.

Amid all the obfuscation of politics and faffing around over buck passing and the minutiae of a failed management plan, it took an audience member - elder Bruce Shillingsworth, to speak the real truth ..... watch the man himself speak .....
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?st...5293&id=388551467951802&fs=1&focus_composer=0

Elder_Bruce Shillingsworth_Q and A.jpeg

BRUCE SHILLINGSWORTH

"Look, we’ve just come back from the big Yaama Ngunna Baaka Corroboree on the rivers – Walgett, Bre, Bourke, Wilcannia, Menindee. And look, it took a group of... There was a convoy of 300 people. And on the rivers, we had about 1,000 in the Corroboree each night. Those Indigenous people that come on that journey spoke to a lot of our elders in those communities, and they wanted to hear from the voices of those communities, those voiceless... They’ve been voiceless over the last couple of years. Look, the impact of the water mismanagement, and the corruption and the corporate greed and capitalism in this country has killed our rivers. It’s killed...

They have killed our communities. Look, we’ve been out in those communities. Now, the health has deteriorated in our communities. Our old people are now dying. Our young people are at a higher rate of mental health... Suicides, dialysis. People that are on dialysis can’t get water to flush their machines, so they’ve got to move on, now, migrate to bigger towns, bigger rural towns and cities. So, a lot of the First Nation people are leaving their tribal...their lands that they’ve been...you know, that they’ve lived on for thousands of thousands of years. How do we bring back the 50-year-old cods? How do we bring back the freshwater mussels? How do we bring back the aquatic life, the ecosystem and the animals that relied on the river and the water? They’re now completely dead. They’re extinct. This has happened over the last 100 years. Australia needs to wake up.

I’m listening tonight, we’re listening to... There’s two things that I can hear. It’s water and profit. Why are we selling water to make profit? That’s what I’m hearing. And here, my people on the river, that relied on those animals for their food source for thousands of years, are now dying. This is the second wave of genocide. It’s happening in my community. So, I’m going to speak on my community, and I want to raise a voice for those that have been voiceless...over the last 230 years. That’s what’s frustrating me, and that’s what’s frustrating our community. Why are our people dying young? Why are our people suffering? Because of the greed. The taking of our water. Where is our rights to water? First Nation rights to water? We have a right to fresh water. Put the water back in the river. Not just for us...but for the environment."



Watch the full program here, which also has the full transcript of the entire program:
https://www.abc.net.au/qanda/2019-28-10/11624850





Chosun :gh:
 
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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Dirty Water .... Dirtier Politics .....

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"Australian farmers pushed into drought three years early because of greedy and thieving corporates"
https://kangaroocourtofaustralia.co...QuEfj0O4CqJ-gIn6dGWTsP3bUVU7CefMNm51MukUwKz8c

"...... of the 158 licence holders in the Barwon-Darling, just 10 control 86% of the water extracted and four control 75%."

"The whole drought/water fraud and theft issue needs a Royal Commission solely focused on the crimes being committed by business people and politicians."

This echoes calls made on Monday night's Q&A program (see post above) by Kate McBride:
".....the only thing that would let me see a future is if we got a federal royal commission and got to the bottom of what’s gone wrong. That is the only thing.

(Host) HAMISH MACDONALD: In terms of water management?

KATE McBRIDE:
Absolutely. In terms of water, get a federal royal commission, look into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. What’s gone wrong, what we can do better, and how we’re all going to move forward. ‘Cause that affects so many farmers. It affects all people along the Darling River, also our dairy farmers along the Murray as well. We need to get to the bottom of what’s gone wrong and give people a future."







Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
I must have missed posting this report when it came out early last year, but the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA overseeing the $13B Plan) claims it has no authority over illegal earthworks in the northern part of the basin (Northern NSW and Southern QLD). These are purposefully designed to capture overland flows on the floodplain and take who knows what amount of unmetered water out of the system for private profit. It seems there are questions over whether funding of these was misused basin funds. This is why the calls for a Federal Royal Commission grow stronger and stronger.
https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018...werless-against-floodwater-harvesting/9426138





Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
It's Worse Than That - He's Dead Jim !!

"Waterbird population has fallen as much as 90 per cent in Australia's east, shows 37-year study"

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019...wQE8MlBBzwgihHHKlxPCXlp2FcDcs82G2UDO3HRjODQnM

The boom breeding events after each drought bust get lower and lower due to land/water exploitation and degradation. With archaeological records showing decades long droughts in this country are possible - we are in real danger of the next 'recovery' being a dead cat bounce :cat: ...... :-C





Chosun :gh:
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Murray-Darling Basin's top cop offers a damning assessment .......

"Mick Keelty, a former federal police commissioner, was appointed after Four Corners revealed water was stolen in the upper Darling River."
https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019...TmXePDnP3E26iLncs6JKJTn7kEbPzVL_X6s4AZJuHecAE

""There has been a crisis of confidence in the northern basin governance arrangements," the report states."

"It found a crisis of confidence in compliance across the Murray-Darling Basin"





Chosun :gh:
 

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