Neil Eagle OAM: Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists Peddle Mischief and Misinformation
To have the so called Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists coming out once again proclaiming that the Murray River system is in ill health and in dire need of restoration after five years or so of the Basin Plan beggars belief.
This same group lost all credibility when exposed as peddling ideology, and not science, at the time of the Federal House of Representatives investigation into the ‘Living Murray’. After being confronted with the true facts on the river’s health by Doctors Lee Benson and Jennifer Marohasy, and supported by Professor John Pigram, their Interim Report recommended that no water be taken from productive use and that river flows were only one of many ways of improving river health.
These peddlers of mischief and misinformation have much to answer for as politicians pandering to hysteria and seeking votes are in the process of destroying the 100 years of irrigation development in the Murray-Darling Basin with the unnecessary removal of between one third and one half of the historic water use of the basin.
The real aim of the Basin Plan is to artificially maintain the salty estuarine Lower Lake system of Lakes Alexandrina and Albert in South Australia as fresh, and discharge additional flows through the barrages in a vain attempt to keep the opening from the Coorong to the sea clear of silt. This equates to squandering the equivalent of Hume Dam’s capacity annually i.e. 3 million megalitres.
The last major dam constructed in Australia was Dartmouth Dam 40 years ago. Further dam development was stymied by people such as Tim Flannery predicting that due to climate change rainfall would decrease to such an extent that Australia’s dams would never fill. This resulted in weak politicians approving massively expensive desalination plants in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. All have proved to be white elephants. As always, droughts are followed by flooding rains.
We now have these same politicians promoting the construction of further dams up north in Queensland. While this is good, they represent only one tenth of the water that has been unnecessarily removed from productive use in the Murray Darling Basin.
People such as the Wentworth Group who peddle mischief should be held responsible for their massive blunders. They should not be allowed to simply walk away.