Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lies, dam lies and water plans

The wicked problem of managing the MDB is in the national and international media again lately. 

In his recent "The conversation" article, professor Lin Crase commented,

"Now that this first phase has passed, the public will be treated to the traditional jousting between states and the federal government. Sifting through fact and fiction in this jurisdictional debate will be no easier than judging the fairly simplistic cases presented by irrigators and environmentalists over the past five years. What both debates share in common are a predilection to communicate with little reference to history, scant regard to the role of uncertainty and even less attention to the cost-effectiveness of choices (referring to "the renewed enthusiasm for spending taxpayers’ money on irrigation infrastructure")."

Another economist, John Quiggin also said the infrastructure investments, which appeared to be what the government locked in to, are the most expensive way of reducing water use in irrigation.  In addition, "The big problem lies with the proposal that, instead of continuing to buy water rights irrigators who are willing to sell their entitlements, future policy should focus on engineering works designed to save water. This policy is bad for farmers, bad for the environment and bad for the community in general...."  Also, "The release of the revised proposed basin plan for the Murray-Darling brings us one step closer to the end of one of the most disastrously misconceived and mismanaged policy processes in Australian history (more details).."

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