Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Jenita Enevoldson on government water plan

The Wilderness Society says the WA government has concealed plans to allocate more water to agriculture and industry.

The Wilderness Society's Marine Conservation Officer Jenita Enevoldsen

The Wilderness Society’s State Director Jenita Enevoldsen

“The new report predicts there is twice the amount of water available for use in the Kimberley region than the predicted sustainable demand scenario from the Department of Water ‘Kimberley Regional Water Plan 2010-2030’,” state director Jenita Enevoldsen said.

“Conservationists say it’s ironic that today Water Minister Hon. Mia Davies has put out a media release calling for aged-care facilitates , sports clubs and schools to save precious drinking water and money – but didn’t deem a recent report ‘Water for Growth’, seemingly doubling previous water allocations for regions like the Kimberley, important enough for a media release.”

You can read that statement here:

MEDIA RELEASE

Turning our taps off – so industry can turn theirs on

26/6/2014

 Huge state-wide water reform planning document – ‘Water for Growth’1 kept under wraps, released at a

private industry function.

 The new report predicts there is twice the amount of water available for use in the Kimberley region

(1081-1617 GL/yr) than the predicted sustainable demand scenario from the Department of Water

‘Kimberley Regional Water Plan 2010-2030’: 566-597 GL/yr2.

Conservationists say it’s ironic that today Water Minister Hon. Mia Davies has put out a media release calling for

aged-care facilitates , sports clubs and schools to save precious drinking water and money – but didn’t deem a recent

report ‘Water for Growth’, seemingly doubling previous water allocations for regions like the Kimberley, important

enough for a media release.

Jenita Enevoldsen, State Director, The Wilderness Society WA, said, “We need to ensure that the process of water

reform is transparent and based on the best available science. The ‘Water for growth’ report seems to have been

announced only to industry, with no references to any studies but bold statements about ensuring certainty for

industry, which ignores previous key messages about the cautious development of our limited groundwater.

“Groundwater is a key water asset in the Kimberley but development of these resources should proceed

with caution as their assessment requires further investigation3.” Department of Water (2011)

“Water reform has been on the agenda for 20 years in WA and new legislation is needed to be able to ensure our

precious water is conserved, especially as we face a changing climate, with unpredictable rainfall in the south and the

boom and bust cycle of the north.”

“The Kimberley and northern Australia will never be the food bowl of the Asia. The Ord River scheme is testament to

this – with over $1.3 billion dollars being poured into a series of failed crops, including rice, cotton and sugar.

“We need to ensure that any plans for irrigated agriculture consider allocations for environmental and cultural flows, as

well as future water demand.

“With the just-announced federal axing of the National Water Commission, which will be wound up by the end of the

year, we have real concerns for the future of water reform in WA. This water reform paired with the federal

government’s plans to hand over environmental approvals to the States takes us one step closer to extinction of

Western Australia’s endangered species and destruction of the places we all love as Western Australians.”

“We can have both a healthy economy as well as a healthy environment; it need not be one or the other.”

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