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NO WATER SAVINGS FOR PIPELINE

Friday, November 26, 2010
A new analysis of water losses in the Goulburn Murray irrigation system shows Labor’s promised water savings have evaporated.
Shadow Minister for Country Water Resources and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said the figures showed the north-south pipeline was taking water from irrigators and the environment instead of savings.
“There has been no reduction in the volume of water lost from the system since the modernisation began,” Mr Walsh said.
“John Brumby has shut down large swathes of the irrigation system to achieve his so-called ‘water savings’ for the north-south pipeline.
“But this analysis shows that, in fact, that the government hasn’t made any improvements in water efficiency.”
The attached chart plots the water released from the Goulburn weir against the water delivered to irrigators over the past 10 years.
“If there was an improvement in efficiency, more recent years would be plotted higher on the chart, showing a greater proportion of water released was delivered to irrigators,” Mr Walsh said.
“Instead, it shows the opposite, with more recent years falling below the trend line.”
Mr Walsh said the figures reiterated the need for an independent judicial inquiry into the Food Bowl Modernisation Project (FBMP) and the north-south pipeline.
“John Brumby must be held to account for the government’s mishandling of the FBMP and his decision to build the north-south pipeline,” Mr Walsh said.
“Labor committed $1 billion of public funds to the project solely on the basis of advice from a non-representative stakeholder group.
“No detailed cost benefit analysis or a business case was carried out and now we have good reason to believe the project hasn’t achieved any water savings.”
In July last year the Auditor-General found Labor invested in the project ‘based on advice of water savings and cost assumptions that had not been verified, technology that had not yet proven itself and the feasibility of the project, which was unknown’.
“In Government, the Coalition will hold an independent judicial inquiry into the government’s botched water projects
“Taxpayers, irrigators and communities in northern Victoria deserve to hear the truth about the cover-ups and lies that have surrounded these projects,” Mr Walsh said.
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