April 2010

Hiking in green Alice Springs

20.04.2010 - Posted by
Over the easter break I hiked the Larapinta trail near Alice Springs. I was lucky enough to arrive after, and during, some of the largest rainfall in the area for a number of years.

This allowed us to see a number of the rivers up there flowing. These rivers are really flashy - the two photos below show the same riverbed and were taken less than 12 hours apart. Don’t let the blue sky in the background fool you, there had been a lot of rain!!

The form and flow regime of the rivers were an interesting contrast to the ones I normally see working in Victoria. It was also great to see this normally extremely dry desert environment covered in green.

Bush telegraph chat about market mechanisms

7.04.2010 - Posted by Amanda Wealands
Michael Cathcart interviewed Judith Sloan from the Productivity Commission regarding their Market Mechanisms for recovering water in the Murray-Darling Basin on the ABC Bush Telegraph yesterday morning.  As Kane posted yesterday, the report is a long document and this interview provides a really good discussion of the key issues facing trade in the Basin. Have a listen here.

Market Mechanisms for recovering water in the Murray-Darling Basin

6.04.2010 - Posted by Kane Travis

On 31 March the Productivity Commission released a research report on Market Mechanisms for Recovering Water in the Murray-Darling Basin. It is a weighty 366 page read, but a very good and in-depth discussion that is worth the effort. Some of the interesting findings of the Productivity Commisssion assessment were:

• The buyback is occurring before sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) are set under the Basin Plan, creating uncertainty in the minds of irrigators and affecting the efficiency of the buyback.

• SDLs must be based on scientific assessments of the amount of water that is required to avoid compromising key environmental assets and processes. Good science is a necessary but not sufficient basis for optimising the use of the Basin’s water resources.

• Other water products (for example, seasonal allocations and options contracts) are potentially valuable in meeting short-term environmental needs.

• Subsidising infrastructure is rarely cost effective in obtaining water for the environment, nor is it likely to be the best way of sustaining irrigation communities.

• The 4 per cent limit on out-of-area trade of water entitlements should be eliminated as soon as possible. Limits on the amount of entitlements that can be sold to the Commonwealth through the buyback should also be eliminated.

If you want to read more, click here.

Walkin’ Birrarung – The Yarra River

1.04.2010 - Posted by Misko Ivezich

Simon, Keryn and I attended Australian Water Association’s Water Professionals Indigenous Cultural Heritage Walking Tour on the banks of the Yarra River in the city yesterday. The tour was run by the Koorie Heritage Trust and their guides take you on a trip back in time amongst the hustle and bustle of inner city Melbourne. It is strange to think less than 200 years ago Europeans had yet to set foot in the Port Philip area and the banks of Yarra River (it’s real name was Birrarung) were the ancestral lands of the Kulin people. Through aboriginal stories, painting and colonial recollections your guide paints a picture of a beautiful clean river which topples over a waterfall (at the location of Queens Bridge today) into the saltwater of Port Philip Bay. On the city side was a dense eucalypt forest, while Southbank was a highly diverse wetland that stretched as far as St Kilda, teaming with frogs, birds and fish. Despite the development of the area, there are still signs of what the area was once like, but most people would walk past without even noticing - I know I did. I recommend the tour to anyone who is interested. It is a great learning and reconciliation experience.