A new report, released today by The Australia Institute, questions using averages to represent flows in the Barwon-Darling and challenges the NSW Water Minister’s claims about how much water is going into maintain river health.
Two massive flood years, 1950 and 1956 account for 21% of all of the water flows since 1944. These two mega-floods distort averages, giving a false expectation of available water.
The report comes on the back of revelations of water theft and toothless regulation in the Murray-Darling Basin.
“Current and former NSW Water Ministers Niall Blair and Kevin Humphreys dismissed concerns of downstream water users with claims that just 6% was being drawn out of the system, but if they used flow averages from this century that figure leaps to 41%.”
“The NSW Water Ministers are misleading the downstream users in the Lower Darling and South Australia about how much water is actually left in the river.
“The Barwon-Darling is one of the most variable rivers in the world, so average numbers widely misrepresent how much water is in that river.
Declining Average Flows in the Barwon-Darling at Bourke (ML)
Source: NSW Office of Water (2017) Continuous water monitoring network