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SOUTH ESK RIVER FLOW CONCERNS

DPIPWE Push for Low Flows Could Harm River

Tim Morris MP Greens Water Spokesperson,Thursday,27 September 2012

mps.tas.greens.org.au
The Tasmanian Greens today raised concerns that DPIPWE had ignored its own scientific advice regarding the minimum water flows in the South Esk River, recommending the irrigation cut-off level be set at below half the expert recommendation.

During question time in Parliament today, Greens Water spokesperson, Tim Morris MP, said that the Secretary to the Department had recently made a recommendation to the Tasmanian Planning Commission to require the complete cessation of irrigation water extraction when river levels drop below 40 ML/day, disregarding the Department’s own scientific advice that the flow should be 100ML/day.

“Clearly, there is significant conflict between the Department’s recommendations and the scientific advice it received regarding sustainable water flows that protect the environmental values of the river,” said Mr Morris.

“The Commission is in the process of signing off on a River Management Plan that will be crucial for the future of the South Esk River and the primary producers who depend on it.”

“It’s disappointing that the Department has dismissed its own scientific advice in its recommendation to the Commission without providing adequate justification.”

“We welcome Minister Green’s undertaking to seek further advice on minimum flow levels for the South Esk, and we look for a speedy and thorough response.”

“This water management plan has been a long time coming and it is crucial issues like the trigger points for the cessation of each of the surety classes of irrigation are set in a way that is scientifically defendable and adopts the precautionary principle.”

“The Greens look forward to the commencement of the plan so that all users have certainty that the river’s biodiversity will be adequately protected and that water users will know exactly what the rules are,” Mr O’Halloran said.