Archived Industry News for Water Professionals - January, 2012
A report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences' (ABARES), based on a survey of irrigation farms in the Murray-Darling basin, has found that many irrigators have faced heavy losses in recent years.
The survey, which covered 2009-10, found that severe reductions in water availability in recent years have affected irrigators’ incomes and regional economies.
Among the worst hit were dairy producers in the Loddon-Avoca region who faced average annual losses of between $40,000 and $90,000.
The Queensland Government has announced that the Floods Commission of Inquiry has issued a number of new requirements of statements from senior Government officials.
Sydney Water has announced it has withdrawn an application to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to increase the nutrient limits in discharges from the Brooklyn Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The New South Wales Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, has announced the commencement of the water sharing plan for the unregulated upper and middle NSW Murray sub-catchments and Upper Murray alluvium.
The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has concluded an investigation into the viability of adopting centre based pivot and linear move (CPLM) irrigation systems to replace current surface irrigation ion the southern Riverina region.
An interactive web resource to help people easily access information on the status of water planning across Australia has today been launched by the National Water Commission.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has announced the state’s Flood Commission of Inquiry will be extended to conduct further investigations into last year’s extensive flooding. Ms Bligh’s announcement comes after Commissioner Cate Holmes advised the Premier she would be holding further hearings and would require an extension to the Inquiry’s reporting date.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has refused to rule out a high court appeal to block the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which he describes as woefully inadequate, if substantial changes aren’t made.
The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists has publically called for a complete review of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s draft Basin Plan, labelling the underlying science as politically motivated and manipulated.
SunWater has been given environmental approval by Queensland Coordinator-General Keith Davies to develop the $1.2 billion Connors River Dam and Pipeline project, which would feed the Bowen Basin coal industry and develop new water storage to increase the region's water supply.
The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is working along the Goulburn River between Seymour and Nagambie in the coming weeks to increase the amount of large woody habitat, or snags, in the Goulburn River, with the aim to increase in the native fish population and diversity in this section of the river.
Funded by the Victorian Government, through revenue from Recreational Fishing Licenses to improve recreational fishing in Victoria and the Goulburn Broken CMA, the snags are being placed in the Goulburn River, downstream of the Hume Freeway Bridge near Seymour. The works that are being carried out will lead to an increase in habitat for native fish in the area and an improvement in catch rates for recreational fishers.
Native fish ecologists from the Murray Darling Basin Authority estimate that fish populations have declined by 90% since European settlement. There have been many threats to native fish including removal of in-stream and riparian habitat and flow modification.
Snags are the inland equivalent of coastal reefs and provide habitat for native fish and other animals such as tortoises and native water rats. Native fish use them to shelter from fast currents and sunlight and take refuge from predation. Native fish also use snags as feeding and spawning sites, and as nursery areas for juvenile fish.
Recent fish surveys within the Murray Darling Basin have found that 80% of Murray Cod are found within 1 metre of a snag. All large bodied freshwater native fish use snags as habitat.
The areas to be re-snagged have been identified via in-stream habitat mapping undertaken in 2011 by scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) in the Goulburn River between the Mitchellstown and Hume Freeway Bridges to identify areas that have a low density of snags. The sites where the Goulburn CMA carry out re-snagging are being selected based on priority zones identified by ARI as a result of this mapping, and access to the waterway within these zones.
The fallen trees used for the re-snagging project have been sourced from a number of nearby locations, including the Nagambie Bypass and a public reserve in Seymour. The Goulburn Broken CMA and its contractors work to rigorous guidelines that have been developed in other locations where re-snagging has been carried out over many years.
This project is funded by the Department of Primary Industries Recreational Fishing Licence Grants Scheme, which uses revenue raised from the sale of recreational fishing licences to fund projects that directly improve recreational fishing in Victoria.
A final decision on whether Tasmania’s three rural water and sewerage corporations will be merged into a single body is likely to be made sometime in March, according to the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT).
A new draft protection plan for the Swan Canning Riverpark, which outlines a range of actions to improve the management, health and amenity of the river, has been released for a three-month public comment period.
The Western Australian Government has announced it will increase Port Hedland’s water supply by 25 per cent, or just over five billion litres, to cope with increasing short to medium term demand.
Groundwater will be a major determinant of Australia’s future as the climate warms and our population swells, according to Professor Craig Simmons, Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT).