Friday, 25 January 2019

New South Wales government largely culpable for fish kill, report finds

Exclusive: Australia Institute calls for inquiry similar to royal commission and greater MDBA transparency
Fri 18 Jan 2019 19.00 GMTLast modified on Sun 20 Jan 2019 23.21 GMT
The crisis on the Lower Darling, which has seen up to 1 million fish die, is largely due to the decisions by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority on instructions from the New South Wales government, a report by the Australia Institute finds.
It says the reasons for those decisions appear to be about building the case for the new Broken Hill pipeline and the Menindee Lakes project, which will see the lakes shrink and “save” water by reducing evaporation.
“It is clear what has caused the Darling River fish kill – mismanagement and repeated policy failure,” said Maryanne Slattery, senior water researcher with the Australia Institute. “To blame the fish kill on the drought is a cop-out, it is because water releases were made from the lakes when this simply shouldn’t have happened.
“It’s time to stop passing the buck.
 'It's happening again': Menindee residents devastated as fish kill conditions return
 “Drought and high temperatures are a factor, but a key issue is that smaller flow events now rarely reach Menindee,” the institute says after a detailed analysis of flows and releases from the Menindee Lakes system. “Large floods still occur, but smaller flows to regularly replenish the system have largely stopped.”

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