Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why Melbourne Water has lost the PR war on the North South Pipeline

It certainly has been in the media lately and it is a controversial project. The north-south pipeline has created protests, arrests and now court action.

The argument that has been placed by the protestors is that the project is taking water away from farmers north of the divide. This is not entirely true. The project can only take water once the irrigation modernisation project around Shepparton generates savings.

Part of the water bill from all Melbourne residents and businesses is funding the improvement of 100 year old irrigation systems so that they run more efficiently. in return melbourne gets 1/3 of the water saved. The remainder is split between the farmers and the environment.

This of course is lost on protestors and farmers along the route of the pipeline. Melbourne Water (as with other authorities) does have the right to enter land to conduct their works. It is in the water act.

It is also a requirement that Melbourne Water adequately reinstate the farmers land and compensate them accordingly. I can understand people not wanting all their paddocks ripped up for a pipe. I do bet that all of them have other services already buried such as gas, town water and telstra somewhere on their land.

Melbourne Water and the pipeline alliance have lacked the ability to show the positive side of the project. the farmers federation approve of it subject to extra water for the farmers.. and why not?


Anonymous said...

I don't like the pipeline; I think there are better, more sensible, options on the drawing board. How about some rigorous water-efficiency measures for industry and mandatory rainwater tanks?

dam buster said...

The transfer of water from north to south was the big no go zone. When the state rivers and water supply commission and the MMBW were regionalised it was an unwritten law not to transfer the water.

The govt would argue that they are doing that as well.

There are still some massive water users around.

Rainwater tanks are difficult to justify financially while the price of water out of the tap remains so cheap.

I will be putting together a post about some other supply options in the near future.