3.53 The committee recommends that no further
reductions in water entitlements occur until the Northern Basin review, and any
subsequent assessments, have been completed.
3.54 The committee recommends that the review should
also consider alternative means of water recovery, particularly in the
Condamine-Balonne catchment, in order to minimise the economic and social
impact of the Plan in the Northern Basin. This would include consideration of
the following options:
recovery of water upstream of Beardmore Dam;
use of private storages to more efficiently store environmental
water and reduce evapotranspiration (the sum of evaporation and plant
implementation of environmental works and measures to more
efficiently delivery environmental water to key environmental assets; and
temporary trade of water to make best use of Commonwealth water
assets when environmental needs have been met.
3.55 The committee recommends that the Murray-Darling
Basin Authority, as part of its ongoing social and economic work, undertake and
publish a thorough assessment of the estimated and actual social and economic
impacts of the implementation of the Plan, including of pursuing the remaining
water recovery for the Condamine-Balonne catchment and other similarly
3.68 The committee recommends that the MDBA address
the existing over-recovery in the Macquarie Valley and other ‘terminal’ systems
such as the Gwydir Valley, with a view to limiting recovery to amounts which
address valley-specific environmental needs.
3.99 The committee recommends that federal and state
governments examine options for securing Broken Hill's water supply as
recommended by the Broken Hill City Council, including raising the trigger
point for releases, and improving infrastructure and storage at Menindee Lakes.
3.100 The committee recommends that an environmental
watering plan be developed for the Menindee Lakes, provided that Adelaide's
water supply and that of South Australian irrigators and landholders dependent
on the Murray, is secure (see paragraph 3.197).
3.143 The committee recommends the Commonwealth assume
liability for damage to private property from environmental watering events,
including to both landholders and third parties, except to parties who have
given prior consent to such flooding.
3.144 The committee recommends that the MDBA and state
governments address the issue of third party impacts from environmental
watering events during the development of constraints proposals, and clearly
communicate with landholders who are likely to be affected by such events.
3.146 The committee recommends that the MDBA review its
communication methods, particularly with regard to projects still in
development such constraints proposals, and improve its ability to incorporate
the views of communities and landholders into decisions and reports.
3.179 The committee recommends the federal government
work with the Victorian government to ensure adequate accountability and
scrutiny of the Goulburn Murray Water Connections Project, by initiating a
judicial inquiry into the operation of the Goulburn Murray Water Connections
Project. Further, given the use of Commonwealth funds on the project, the
committee recommends the Australian National Audit Office should consider an
audit of the project.
3.200 The committee recommends the government evaluate
the effect on irrigators and the environment of the SA government purchasing
irrigation water on the water market while declining to use its desalination
plant. The committee also recommends the government undertake a study of the
cost of upgrading pipeline delivery of water to irrigators and livestock owners
on both sides of the lower lakes.
3.274 The committee recommends that Bird Island be
removed by the South Australian Government and MDBA to improve water flow
through the Murray mouth.
3.275 The committee recommends the MDBA calculate the
economic value of fresh water evaporated from the lower lakes.
3.277 The committee recommends the government undertake
a detailed study to inform whether a reassessment of the Coorong's Ramsar
listing from a fresh water system to an estuarine system is more appropriate.
3.284 The committee recommends the government undertake
cost-benefit analyses of the following options for adapting the management of
the Lower Lakes and Coorong, and their social, economic and environmental
impacts throughout the basin:
removing all of the barrages;
removing some of the barrages;
modifying some of the barrages (such as Tauwitcherie and Mundoo);
allowing the ingress of salt water into the Lower Lakes during
periods of low flow; and
investigating the construction of an additional lock at a
location above Lake Alexandrina, such as near Wellington, SA, either in concert
with the above options or as a single change.
3.285 Should such analysis indicate that one or more of
these leads to more positive social, economic and environmental outcomes than
the current basin plan, the committee recommends the Plan be amended
3.311 The committee recommends the government commission
an independent feasibility and hydrology study into a connector between Lake
Albert and the Coorong to assess the environmental and economic costs and
benefits of the connector, and compare this to the current practice of lake
3.328 The committee recommends the government direct the
Productivity Commission to investigate the value of foregone production and
food processing due to reduced irrigation water under the Plan.
3.339 The committee recommends that the government
assess the operation of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme to determine
the priority of irrigation and energy production.
3.340 The committee recommends the operation of the
scheme be assessed, and adjusted as required, to give more effect to social,
economic and environmental considerations of local and downstream communities.
4.5 The committee recommends that the Commonwealth
Government request the Productivity Commission to undertake a full cost-benefit
analysis of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
4.22 The committee recommends that state governments
make every effort to promote SDL Adjustment Mechanism projects in their
jurisdiction to achieve the 650GL target.
4.35 The committee recommends that no further buybacks
of water occur and that action to recover the additional 450GL of water through
efficiency measures is delayed until the SDL Adjustment Mechanism target is met
and the socio-economic impacts of water recovery to date are known.
4.81 The committee recommends that the government
investigate the costs and benefits of a real-time national water trading
register, and whether private platforms provide or can complement such
4.112 The committee recommends that the government
coordinate with the basin state governments to undertake a comprehensive assessment
of carryover rules and regulations and investigate the potential for amendment
of the rules.
4.125 The committee recommends the government assess,
objectively value and publish data on the various uses of water in the Murray-Darling
4.150 The committee recommends that the government amend
the Water Act 2007 to make clear the equal standing of economic, social and
environmental needs and outcomes.
4.210 The committee recommends that the MDBA,
Commonwealth Environment Water Holder and basin states conduct greater
monitoring, objective evaluation and communication of environmental watering
activities, and that the MDBA collate and publicly report this information.
4.212 The committee recommends that the government fund
the expansion of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder's existing Long
Term Intervention Monitoring Project to include more sites around the basin and
provide greater monitoring and evaluation of basin environmental watering
4.253 The committee recommends the Victorian and NSW
governments, as operators of the relevant storages, implement measures to
mitigate cold water pollution that is undermining recovery efforts of native
4.254 The committee recommends the MDBA conduct a review
of the impact of cold water releases on native fish and develop risk
assessments and mitigation strategies to ensure that cold water releases do not
impact on native fish.
4.279 The committee recommends that the MDBA work with
basin state governments to investigate the efficiency and effectiveness of salt
interception schemes and combine their use and other complementary measures to
manage salinity in the basin.
4.280 The committee recommends the Commonwealth fund and
facilitate accelerated work on the restoration of surface flows from the
south-east of South Australia into the lower Coorong, and undertake a
feasibility study into the potential for redirecting all existing drainage
discharges from the South East into the Coorong.
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