You say: Where’s the Basin Plan’s future planning?

PLAN: Fran Pietroboni says past governments gave us dams for irrigation, while today's 'have no vision of the future'.
PLAN: Fran Pietroboni says past governments gave us dams for irrigation, while today's 'have no vision of the future'.

The Murray Darling Basin Plan covers a large area of 1,058,800 square kilometres or approximately 14 per cent of the total area of Australia and how can one plan suit all of the area, when one travels outback past Cobar one thing you will notice that the trees grow smaller and then the only trees you will see is along a dry creek bed.

The MIA has to thank the men of vision who came up with the plan to irrigate the area, but before irrigation came, government of the day had to come up with the plan to build a dam to store water, for the area was prone to drought and Western Riverina country could only carry one sheep per four acres. The first reported area to produce a crop of what was near Coolamon in 1850 and most settlers stayed close to rivers and creeks and in 1882-1884 three years of drought, 1895 to 1903 nine years of drought and in 1906 the minister for public works introduced into parliament the Barren Jack and Murrumbidgee canals Construction Bill.

Murrumbidgee irrigation scheme failed to eventuate until 2010.

Labor government of James McGowan who passed an enabling act in December 1910 Murrumbidgee Irrigation Act and Barren Jack Dam.

The cycle of the weather has a habit of repeating itself 100 years later in 1982-83.

The MIA was in drought, the Blowering Dam was empty and so many other dams.

The dry area farmers did not produce a crop.

In 1999 Victoria consulting economists came up with a report that recommended that water be traded like shares and to separate ownership of land water.

Under the proposed new trading framework, water entitlements could be held by any person or entity, they will not need to own land and water.

Water has become a business to be traded and sold and how do you trade rain that comes from the sky and it is free.

We forgot that the water cycle and life is one. The drought of 2001 to 2010 were hard times for the farming communities.

Government of the day came up with the plan in 2007 in the middle of a drought, to protect the environment and in 2010 the rain came and everything came to life: fish, spiders, birds and we must not forget the frogs, they came out in their thousands in the rice fields.

In 2012 the big floods, Griffith and the people of Yenda lost everything.

In 2016 more rain and all the dams were full, the Murray and the Murrumbidgee Rivers were in flood and water was lapping the Darlington Point Road to Hay.

Many farmers had a good year and others went under water.

What do we know about our rivers and dams?

Eucumbene Dam forms Lake Eucumbene, the contral storage of the Snowy Mountain scheme - construction period May 1956 to May 1958.

Tantangara Dam impounds the head water of the Murrumbidgee River to divert through the Murrumbidgee - Eucumbene Tunnel to Lake Eucumbene for storage - construction June 1958 to March 1960.

Happy Jack Dam diverts the Tumut and Happy Jack Rivers directly into the Eucumbene Tumut Tunnel for storage in Lake Eucumbene - construction September 1958 to June 1959.

Our past governments gave us dams to generate electricity and irrigation.

While today's governments have no vision of the future.

Fran Pietroboni, Griffith


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