Albert idea rebuffed by Birmingham
The Federal Government has refused the South Australian Government’s request for more water to desalinate Lake Albert.
Water from the Murray-Darling Basin will not be allocated for a plan to reduce the salinity by way of ‘lake-level cycling’.
The practice involves the raising and lowering of water levels in the lake, to export saline water accumulated over years of drought and replace it with fresh influx.
South Australian Environment Minister Ian Hunter asked for more water for the program, but Federal Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Simon Birmingham, says there is enough already.
“We have a huge task ahead of us implementing the Basin plan as it is and it's our commitment to ensure it's implemented in full and on time and we're not about to be cracking it open and revisiting it for any of the states in that sort of manner,” Mr Birmingham said in a radio interview this week.
“A lot more water is being delivered for the entire system as a result of the Basin plan, and that recover effort is still underway.
“That will certainly allow for the type of lake cycling activities that were identified in this South Australia report to be undertaken.
“They've already been undertaken in the last couple of years, and the water in the Basin plan, as agreed by all states including South Australia, would allow for those types of activities to continue you and occur more frequently in the future.”
Mr Birmingham today announced that the latest round of the $240 million South Australian River Murray Sustainability Irrigation Industry Program (3IP) will open for Expressions of Interest next Monday.
New South Wales has become the last state to get involved up to the Basin plan, with the submission of its list of initial projects.