Upper Lakes a priority

Menindee Lakes

Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson MP visited stakeholders in Far Western NSW this week in preparation for the Menindee Lakes returning to NSW control.

The NSW Government says that it is now commencing discussions with the Murray Darling Basin Authority and Basin jurisdictions on how to improve the way in which water in the Menindee Lakes is stored.

Mr Anderson said that the NSW Government is initiating discussions to reach a balance that addresses environmental, community and irrigators needs.

“Addressing these issues is complex and challenging as the rules set out in the Murray Darling Basin Agreement clearly outline how the Lakes are required to be operated and implementing any changes will require approval by other Basin jurisdictions,” he said.

“Our focus is now on improving the ways we can protect and prolong inflows into the Far West system, including improving water security for the Menindee Lakes.”

Darling River Action Group Secretary Darryn Clifton who met with Mr Anderson, said that it was good to see Mr Anderson out at the lakes talking with the community.

“There were three members of DRAG present and we had a general chat about our concerns, concerns of the northern basin and our concerns with floodplain harvesting and told him we won’t accept floodplain harvesting until we get some end of valley targets in the Barwon Darling River.”

Mr Clifton said that despite the visit showing promise, he was disappointed that Mr Anderson had a media release prepared and that DRAG’s emphasis that all the four lakes should be maintained to some level is not yet in the Government’s management objectives which prioritises Lakes Wetherell and Pamamaroo as primary storages.

“They don’t want to store water in all four lakes. There is no reason why all four lakes can’t be kept between 80-100 per cent continuously.”

“For it to be a fair and equitable system, we must have water in the Menindee lakes storage system, over the whole area, that way less water needs come down from the north.”

Mr Anderson said that stranded water that would otherwise “evaporate” would be used as “operational” to serve Lower Darling communities and be released down the Great Darling Anabranch.

“This includes maximising the drawing of water from the lower lakes of Cawndilla and Menindee and retaining water for as long as possible in the more efficient and accessible upper lakes of Wetherell and Pamamaroo.”

Mr Clifton said that DRAG is hoping to continue discussions with Mr Anderson to help get a mix that works for all parties.

“If he was up here trying to formulate a policy to take through to the next election, he has failed in that media release, but as I said to him, our door is open, we are here to talk and we will be constructive to develop a way forward.”

Support the Barrier Truth!

We are a small, independently owned newspaper. If you got something from this article, giving something back helps us to continue publishing the truth from the Broken Hill region. Every little bit counts.

More Articles