Refreshing the Plan. The Select Senate Report.
The Select Senate Committee on the Basin Plan’s final report titled Refreshing the Plan has been presented to Parliament. The Committee consulted widely, and the report discusses a range of issues. It ultimately makes 31 recommendations. These recommendations are both practical, and sometimes bluntly politically incorrect.
The full report can be viewed by left clicking on SenateReport.
Among these recommendations are:
Recommendation 14: The committee recommends the government undertake cost-benefit analyses of the following options for adapting the management of the Lower Lakes and Coorong, and their social, economic and environmental impacts throughout the basin: • removing all of the barrages; • removing some of the barrages; • modifying some of the barrages (such as Tauwitcherie and Mundoo); • allowing the ingress of salt water into the Lower Lakes during periods of low flow; and • investigating the construction of an additional lock at a location above Lake Alexandrina, such as near Wellington, SA, either in concert with the above options or as a single change. 3.285 Should such analysis indicate that one or more of these leads to more positive social, economic and environmental outcomes than the current basin plan, the committee recommends the Plan be amended accordingly.
Recommendation 21: The committee recommends that no further buybacks of water occur and that action to recover the additional 450GL of water through efficiency measures is delayed until the SDL Adjustment Mechanism target is met and the socioeconomic impacts of water recovery to date are known.
Recommendation 25: The committee recommends that the government amend the Water Act 2007 to make clear the equal standing of economic, social and environmental needs and outcomes.
Senator John Madigan (recognized as the catalyst of the senate Enquiry) makes a further 19 recommendations.
The report records many insightful observations, and proposes significant improvements to the water issue. The responsibility now belongs with the House of Representatives to enact them.