Letter to the editor, October 11, 2018

Photo: File.
Photo: File.

Councillor refers to river as ‘cesspool’

Mid Murray Councilor Steve Wilkinson, during a debate, referred to the River Murray as a cesspool and whilst it is in the top 10 most over-regulated and degraded rivers in the world, we don’t need a person who knows very little about the Murray-Darling Basin making stupid comments.

The chairman of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Neil Andrew, constantly informs the public of Australia that the number-one task of the authority is to ensure that the two million tonnes of salinity/impurities are flushed out through the barrages.

The salinity/impurities are caused by the salinity leached from within the basin flowing into all waterways that empty in the basin, and all of the chemicals et cetera that are used in the production of rich crops and agriculture and other industries that assist in this country’s wealth and standard of living.

Many persons rely on the water within the basin to use for many tasks other than consumption, but it is really okay.

I have been drinking from the River Murray for 73 years and am still alive, much to some persons’ dislike.

At the same meeting, a letter emerged asking for Adrian Pederick MP’s assistance.

“DEW (the Department of Environment and Water) maintain that this is required to ensure that South Australia complies with its requirements under the Commonwealth’s Murray-Darling Basin Plan; council believe that this policy is unfair.”

When Mannum Waters first approached the Mid Murray Council and the requirements for such a development were explained and then were listed in the Government Gazette, one of those requirements was for a licence to fill the marina and enough in their licence to include maintaining the level after evaporation.

Now that Mid Murray Council has assumed control of the marina it seems it is expecting the council’s ratepayers (to foot the bill), and this bill is reliant on the price of water, depending on availability. At the moment water on the temporary market is – and 184 megalitres is required per year – about $2200 per meg; therefore $304,000 per year.

Permanent water is about $2.2 million a gigalitre, which would be therefore the same: $2200 a megalitre.

The biggest problem is the basin holding’s diminishing, and with two more years of low inflows it could be expected for the percentage of water supplied there may be a cut.

A 50 per cent reduction would mean a doubling of the required amount, meaning the 184 megalitres would cost something like $608,000.

Why should the Mid Murray ratepayers be forced to pay this?

If the original agreement has been changed I see this, if it is no longer part of the original signed contract, as maladministration and unaffordable.

Peter R Smith, PO Box 126, Mannum SA 5238