News

Menindee Lakes – let science guide policy

January 21 2019

A leading water expert has warned against relying on quick fixes to the Menindee Lakes crisis triggered by recent severe fish kills.

Professor Rob Vertessy said: “Water management in the Murray-Darling Basin is a complex issue involving many stakeholders with varied aspirations.

“We have an orderly rules-based system for managing flows within the system and competent authorities implementing them.

“Nonetheless we have found in recent years that as a result of development and climate change, our management procedures aren’t always delivering the outcomes we aspire to in the Basin.”

Professor Vertessy is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and chair of the Academy’s Water Forum.

He is also chair of the Advisory Committee on Social, Economic and Environmental Sciences for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).

He said: “The Murray-Darling Basin plan is a significant and positive step forward in securing a better future for the Basin. It needs to be noted that implementation of the plan only starts this year, following an extended period of careful planning and consultation.

It’s important that we review these matters calmly, while understanding that changes already adopted need time to work their way through.

“Core to the Basin Plan is an ethos of adaptive management, so reviews proposed to re-examine the operation of the Darling are to be welcomed.

“It’s important that we review these matters calmly, while understanding that changes already adopted need time to work their way through. Those intent on laying blame and trashing hard-fought reforms are not doing the Basin any favours.”