Thursday, 10 January 2019

The Darling Dilemma.

2018 annual rainfall compared to historical
rainfall observations. (source)

The Darling River is no longer flowing for lack of water and what little water there is for human and non-human consumption is contaminated with masses of rotting dead fish.

NSW independent MP Jeremy Buckingham’s personal account of the situation around Menindee:

NSW MP vomits after witnessing mass fish deaths in Darling River
By Rachel Clun. 10 January 2019 — 11:35am.


Copious rains could flush the river. Although this would affect communities further downstream in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, it would certainly help locals and their situation seems dire. At any rate, however, that possibility seems unlikely.

BOM declares 2018 Australia's third-hottest year on record
By Kate Doyle. Updated about 10 hours ago

Today the Bureau of Meteorology released its Annual Climate Statement for 2018 (the map above comes from that release and is self-explaining: note the large red area, largely coincident with the Murray-Darling Basin). The ABC News’ Kate Doyle reports on statements Dr. Karl Braganza  — head of Climate Monitoring (BOM) — made on occasion of the release:
“Looking at what our drivers are in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, we’re not seeing conditions that are going to favour wetter or cooler conditions,” he said.
“So we will see an extension of the warmth and the dry — and the fire season obviously has a little while to go, particularly in southern parts of the continent and inland NSW.”
Rains — Doyle writes — could have to wait until March, “at least”.


It’s widely believed that large cotton growers, north of the Broken Hill/Menindee area, have diverted and accumulated huge water reserves in excess of their allowances. That could be easily proved or disproved.

If those allegations were right, and depending on the volume of water effectively present, the river could be flushed.

Of course, even if the authorities decided to do that and verified the existence of those reserves, private property is sacrosanct and legally protected under capitalism.


Menindee mass fish death fury escalates, NSW Police and Minister at odds
By Paige Cockburn. Updated about 2 hours ago

NSW minister Niall Blair, whose portfolio oversees rivers, agriculture and fisheries, had scheduled a public meeting with Menindee locals. He did not attend the meeting offering no explanation. Later Blair claimed to be acting under police advise over alleged death threats. The ABC News’ Paige Cockburn reports that NSW Police claims never to have advised Blair that.

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