It’s not like we need another case study in just how creatively dumb bureaucracy can be, but Jennifer Marohasy has been relentless in pursuing the extraordinary case of a government contracting a corporation to pour nearly 7000 Mega litres into a area facing life threatening floods. That’s more than 2000 Olympic pools worth of water dumped into a flood zone just last Wednesday.
Remember, this legislation was made with good intentions, and it was supposed to help the environment…
The Whole Truth: Water Deliberately Dumped into Flooded Area
SNOWY Hydro chief executive, Terry Charlton, recently confirmed that water was dumped into the already flooded Murray-Darling Basin, but said the authority had little choice (The Australian, December 15, 2010, page 7). A real time operational diagram, however, tells a very different story.
Last Wednesday, Snowy Hydro could have sent water into Eucumbene dam. At only 20 percent it had a storage capacity of a whopping 4 cubic kilometres of water.
Instead, the water managers set the trans-mountain tunnels so water was flowing away from Lake Eucumbene at over 80 cubic metres per second (6,912 megalitres for Wednesday).
Tumut River residents were issued with urgent evacuation orders last Thursday after the increase in outflows.
Desperate farmers phoned Snowy Hydro last week asking why flood waters were being sent west, rather than east to Lake Eucumbene, given this dam was less than half full, but their calls were ignored.
Killing tadpoles for the sake of bureaucracy
The water is being removed from one place where it could be useful to go to another where it’s desperately not needed.
ANGLERS fishing Lake Eucumbene in late October 2010 were pleased to see that the rising waters of the lake had created perfect spawning conditions for the frogs.
Frogs were in abundance and their future was assured through this massive spawning event, or so we thought.
Lake levels started falling even though the state was flooding?
More importantly anglers watched as the frog spawn was left high and dry. The baby tadpoles yet to hatch suffered a miserable death by dehydration. Caring anglers scurried around the lake margin; lifting spawn blobs and putting them back into the water, only to see the whole miserable cycle continue as the waters relentlessly receded.
How many frog larvae died we will never know, but the receding waters killed far more frogs than any number of trout possibly could – even the deadly chytrid fungus would have been hard pressed to match this slaughter.
Ross Tyson sums it up:
“AN ARCHAIC agreement hatched in the air-conditioned suites of a Sydney office block has exposed the kind of chronic mismanagement at government level that is driving local farmers to the point of despair.
“The revelation this week that Snowy Hydro is sending millions of litres of water downstream every day into overflowing dams and flood-affected towns along the Murrumbidgee River has left irrigators dumbfounded.
Read more of the Area News Story at Jennifer Marohasy’s site
The Government only had 8 months warning
Back on Dec 14th the CEO of the Snowy Hydro was frustrated that he’d warned the NSW government in April that this could happen:
Snowy Hydro Wants Changes to Licence Provisions to Avoid Exacerbating Flooding
“The NSW government appears unable to make any decisions,” said Mr Charlton.
“The situation is ridiculous. We are frustrated. Late last week we pulled back on the water releases but this potentially puts us in contravention of our water licence,” said Mr Charlton.
Jennifer Marohasy has been doing a great job. Isn’t this the kind of research that paid journalists are supposed to be doing?