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Dispelling myths about water

Ron Pike

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Ron Pike

1 September 2022

10:00 AM

The myths about water are many. They range from Australia being the driest continent on earth, to all of our rivers dying from overuse, right up to the government being required to return water to the environment.

Most of these myths are rooted in ‘environmentalism’, a political movement which has become a form of religious belief that fosters a sense of moral superiority in the believer but does not burden him with adherence to scrutiny or veracity.

These particular environmentalists arrogantly believe their cause is so important that they should not be questioned or challenged in scientific debate. Have you ever heard an environmentalist explain what the environment is, or where it resides?

For many years now I have used municipal flood records to refute the oft falsely repeated claim that since we invested in water conservation and irrigation, we have had fewer over-the-bank flows (floods) than in the century previous.

In reality, we have had many more, and you do not need a degree in anything other than common sense to work out why.

Environmental bureaucrats continue to argue against these truths, and other indisputable facts, and use their error to justify the iniquitous Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

But here are some not-so-well-known facts that should be shouted out in the present flood of misinformation about our water resources.

Australia has more precipitation per head of population than most other countries on Earth.

Some examples; expressed in megalitres per person: Australia: 140, Brazil 130, USA 33, Japan 6, United Kingdom 4.

Of our precipitation, about 13 per cent runs to the sea and this amounts to about 290 million Megalitres per year from the mainland and 50 million megalitres from Tasmania.

While the amount we use for all mankind’s purposes varies from year to year, it rarely exceeds 5 per cent of this huge volume.

How then is it possible for anyone and most of all Politicians, to argue that our rivers are over-committed?

How can the federal government justify overriding Section 100 of the Constitution to return water to ‘the environment’ when the people of Australia only use 0.4 per cent of the precipitation that falls from the heavens?

Surely federal action via the MDB Plan is an act of extreme incompetence and a depravity against the Australian people?

Politicians, if they are to regain any credibility, must recognise that the bulk of our runoff is between Adelaide and Cairns, which is right where we need it. All we must do is conserve these huge flows in times of excess and where necessary divert westward.

Mankind has yet to develop a better water conservation system than the building of dams. Doing so will massively grow our economy, generate a huge growth in jobs, and if practically managed, stop most of our flood damage.

But flowing from this revelation of where our water resources are, is a much bigger and more important truth that has been buried by those not saddled with a commitment to truth.

The Australian river with the largest run-off by a very large margin is the Murray River. As Sturt rather boldly stated when he progressed from the Murrumbidgee to a river he called the Hume, ‘I have found Australia’s Mississippi.’

This is not surprising when we consider that the Mighty Murray has a catchment of one million square kilometres which includes most of Australia’s snow country, a fact overlooked by our dishonest environmentalists.

The outflow from the Murray most years is more than double our next biggest river, which is the Clarence.

Now consider this before we look at some historical Murray outflows. The total storage capacity for all dams in the MDB including the Snowy Scheme is 29 million megalitres. Measured at Euston these are some of the historical flows in the Murray River.

1956120,000,000megalitres
1957 ( a very dry year)2,400,000megalitres
196236,000,000megalitres
196335,000,000megalitres
196436,000,000megalitres
196924,000,000megalitres
197460,000,000megalitres
197572,000,000megalitres
198436,000,000megalitres
2022 estimation70,000,000megalitres

During the dry years of the Millennium Drought, the flow past Euston only dropped below 2,400,000 megalitres. in one year.

The flow past this point in 2010 and 2011 which ended this drought is believed to be over 30,000,000 megalitres. each year and outflows have remained around this and above every year since.

So why is the Murray-Darling Basin Authority releasing around 2,400,000 megalitres of stored water every year into an already swollen river? It is an absurd waste of a needed resource. The lower Murray is always awash with more water than we can possibly use and this is why we can never successfully manage this resource until we build Chowilla Dam.

While reliable details for all years are not available, I believe the picture painted by the facts we have, clearly show a system not overburdened by irrigation extractions and a system that would hugely benefit from more storage.

What should be screamed is that the system is over-regulated by multiple bureaucracies; from Canberra, the states, and local government and is not over-committed for irrigation.

Recent debate about our water resources has been appalling to watch, and any rational arguments have been drowned out by the politics of perception. Truth as expressed above has been washed away by media-generated emotion of ‘dying rivers’, a water-starved environment, and dead fish.

How is it possible to argue that we, the people, are depriving ‘the environment’ of water when the people are only using 0.4 per cent of the total precipitation and around 5 per cent of runoff?

The lack of truth in public discourse relating to our water resources has not only killed off rational debate, but has undermined our human decency that flows from acceptance of that truth and unpins our respect for one another.

As a result, previously thriving communities built on the abundance of our water resources and a respect for one another’s ambition and enterprise are regressing.

The management of our largest water resource, the Murray-Darling system, is a sin against the people of Australia and if Prime Minister Albanese is serious about job and wage growth he must take the breaks off the peoples ‘Tools of Trade’, which are Water, Power, and Fuel.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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