Losses dis­grace

Sys­tem over­flows as we still wait for an al­lo­ca­tion

Southern Riverina news - - RURAL OUTLOOK -

‘‘Never in my life time did I ex­pect to see the river sys­tem abused like it is. Trans­mis­sion losses of this mag­ni­tude dur­ing a drought is to­tally un­ac­cept­able.’’

That is the re­ac­tion from Wakool River As­so­ci­a­tion chair John Loli­cato as ‘‘pol­i­tics and out­dated river rules’’ re­sult in a wastage of wa­ter while Mur­ray Val­ley farm­ers still have no ac­cess to wa­ter to grow food and fi­bre.

Mr Loli­cato has taken aim at what he de­scribes as ‘‘the route cause of river mis­man­age­ment’’, af­ter above ca­pac­ity flowed through the sys­tem last week.

Mr Loli­cato said con­cerns have been raised that the high trans­mis­sion losses are im­pact­ing on al­lo­ca­tion to NSW Mur­ray general se­cu­rity hold­ers.

He said it is leav­ing river op­er­a­tors in the dif­fi­cult po­si­tion of try­ing to man­age un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions of the sys­tem and that some be­lieve un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions and lack of knowl­edge of river ca­pac­ity should be placed on the shoul­ders of po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions.

But he said there is also an is­sue with mis­cal­cu­la­tions by river man­agers.

As a con­se­quence, and fol­low­ing a low in­flow pe­riod, Mr Loli­cato said de­ci­sion mak­ers now seem pre­pared to ex­ceed chan­nel ca­pac­i­ties to achieve the po­lit­i­cal goals set for the lower end of the sys­tem.

‘‘Man­age­ment of the South­ern Basin Rivers, in par­tic­u­lar the Mur­ray and Ed­ward Rivers, can be com­pli­cated and politi­cians fail to recog­nise this when deals are made to ap­pease vot­ers, pro­tect mar­ginal seats and sup­port down­stream in­vest­ments,’’ Mr Loli­cato said.

‘‘There are four nat­u­ral con­straints in the Mur­ray Val­ley alone which se­verely im­pact the amount of wa­ter which can be de­liv­ered per day.

‘‘The Barmah Choke is the most ob­vi­ous and once had the ca­pac­ity to de­liver 8,500 me­gal­itres per day but over a num­ber of years this has been re­duced to un­der 8,000

me­gal­itres per day due to the added pres­sure to de­liver high vol­umes down­stream.

‘‘For a num­ber of weeks now the Barmah Choke has been run­ning well above ca­pac­ity, by up to 2500 me­gal­itres per day. On top of that the Ed­ward River at Stevens Weir was run­ning 500 me­gal­itres per day above ca­pac­ity.’’

Mr Loli­cato said once ca­pac­ity is ex­ceeded, wa­ter runs over­bank and into sur­round­ing forests, anabranches, bil­l­abongs, and po­ten­tially on to pri­vate land.

‘‘While this is not al­ways a bad thing, this year it is com­ing at the ex­pense of food pro­duc­ers who re­main on zero al­lo­ca­tion as they are pay­ing for the in­ef­fi­ciency of the trans­mis­sion,’’ Mr Loli­cato said.

‘‘It is be­lieved the river is cur­rently run­ning at above ca­pac­ity heights to fill Lake Vic­to­ria, which is just east of the South Aus­tralian bor­der be­tween Ren­mark and Mil­dura. As of Novem­ber 12 Lake Vic­to­ria was 74 per cent full.

‘‘Fill­ing Lake Vic­to­ria is one thing, but cur­rently about 17 per cent of what is go­ing into Lake Vic­to­ria is com­ing back out again via Ru­fus River.’’

Ru­fus River is the con­nec­tion be­tween Lake Vic­to­ria back to the Mur­ray to sup­ply South Aus­tralia.

Mr Loli­cato said 7,740ML/day was en­ter­ing Lake Vic­to­ria last Mon­day, while 1,354ML/day was be­ing re­leased from Lake Vic­to­ria into Ru­fus River.

‘‘This shows com­plete dis­re­spect for fam­ily farm­ers and the busi­nesses up­stream who rely on them.

‘‘Our food pro­duc­ers have no al­lo­ca­tion and tem­po­rary wa­ter prices are out of reach.

‘‘By my cal­cu­la­tions up to an ex­tra 2,500 me­gal­itres per day in trans­mis­sion losses are oc­cur­ring in or­der to fill Lake Vic­to­ria.

‘‘I think our politi­cians need to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their un­re­al­is­tic goals and do not un­der­stand or re­spect the con­straints of the sys­tem.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.