In South Australia common ground regarding the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was found at a meeting convened by the State Government of experts and members of a number of groups with an interest in the health of the river.At the invitation of the Premier of South Australia, the Hon Jay Weatherill, MP, irrigators, farmers, scientists, politicians and environmental groups addressed legal options, the science underlying the Draft Plan and 'high level principles' that might inform their future deliberations.
Tim Kelly, CE of the Conservation Council said, "South Australians will lose the most if the Basin Plan does not guarantee the health of the Basin into the future. It is heartening to see that leaders from across diverse sectors share the same concerns about the ability of the Basin Plan to deliver a healthy river system."
Some key concerns included: the absence of a salinity target and water quality targets for Lakes Alexandrina and Albert and the Coorong; the quality of the science; long-term water quality; the lack of climate change modelling;, and inbuilt delays in the whole process.
"The CSIRO Review of the estimated environmentally sustainable level of take released last week does not provide any confidence that hydrological outcomes or environmental outcomes will be achieved" said Professor Diane Bell, Chair of the Water Committee at the Conservation Council SA "We are seeking a Plan that is supported by clear, defensible, peer-reviewed science and that achieves the outcomes specified by the Water Act. In South Australia, at the end of the system, we appreciate the relationship between water quantity and quality "
Peter Owen, The Wilderness Society's South Australian Campaign Manager said, "only a united voice, a united South Australia can secure the outcomes required to restore our lifeline the Murray River to health".
"We have seen the devastation that is caused to our communities and our economy when the river is run dry. Unless the over-allocation of water upstream is seriously addressed, there will be tremendous human and environmental costs. We have a right to a healthy river, the stakes could not be higher" said Mr Owen.
For further information on the Blueprint for a Sustainable Future go to:
For additional media information or to arrange an interview please contact
Tim Kelly 0417 879 439
Diane Bell 0427 554 194
Peter Owen 0423 550 018