AUSTRALIAN PROPERTY MARKETEERS TURN TO INDIA, VIETNAM, INDONESIA TO FURTHER BOOST THEIR COFFERS

 

 

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CAAN:  Photo: Chinese owned Greenland at Lachlan’s Line; the North Ryde Station Precinct underway; now bearing a remarkable resemblance to High-rise Estates across China; bordered by motorways; a mere remnant of the forest remains. In the background of the photo China’s Country Garden “Ryde Garden” … an oxymoron.  This originally was public land, both North Ryde and Macquarie Park being a Business and Information Technology Park now swallowed up by high density living.  Where will the jobs be?

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CAAN:  Photo … one can readily see the similarity … with a strong foreign influence on developers … this is the “Australian Dream” being peddled akin to a World without space, and unworthy of living.

THE self-serving mob with their insatiable appetite whet for even more … circulate this article riddled with spin (b.s.) …

AUSTRALIA would be close to entering its second decade of exporting our Title Deeds to the subcontinent and to China.

What appears here to be a reluctance to tell the truth “these surveys are significant” – is this deliberate to hide what really is happening?

Obviously the developer lobby have written Government policy through Visa manipulation to buy property, with Australian agents across Asia and no legislation to prevent money laundering and Proxy Agents buying our residential property … read more for what is in store for overseas property buyers …

 This article lacks credibility, and it ignores the reality of the Australian landscape!

AUSTRALIA the driest continent on Earth with very few rivers crossing it is rapidly losing its “liveability” to overdevelopment, and as many migrants here in Sydney comment “with high immigration and over-development it will become like where we left!”

AUSTRALIAN PROPERTY INDUSTRY TURNS TO INDIA TO SUPPLEMENT FALLING CHINESE INVESTMENT
JIM MALO
AUG 17, 2018

The amount of Chinese cash which once poured into Australian property has about halved, leaving developers and agents scrambling to recapture the record volumes of investment.

A joint report by Investorist and the Domain Group showed that as industry interest in selling off-the-plan property to Chinese investors declined, it was increasing in the surrounding, growing economies.

While Investorist chief executive Jon Ellis said it was unlikely the recent explosion of foreign money flowing into the property industry’s coffers would ever be replicated, similar market conditions in other south-east Asian countries meant the area’s investment potential wasn’t yet tapped out. Melbourne was by far the most popular Australian city for overseas investment in off-the-plan construction, according to the report.

“We’d been getting a bit drunk off this flood of money coming from China,” he said. “Once the tap turns off people get a bit anxious and they say ‘where can we go next?’.

One of biggest potential emerging markets is India. Of all the thriving economies of south-east Asia, India and China shared the most similarities. Because of this, more agencies and developers were setting up offices on the subcontinent in an effort to tap into a market that has so far been relatively uninvolved in Australian property.

“They’re thinking: ‘OK, this is new. There’s just as many people here as in China and there’s a lot of money getting around’,” Mr Ellis said. Sydney was next, followed by Brisbane.

Last year, just 6 per cent of Investorist clients were looking to sell in India. This financial year, it’s 21 per cent.

That was the biggest increase for all countries. In comparison, China went from 86 per cent to 60 per cent, a fall of 26 points.

The other rising stars within the industry were Vietnam and Indonesia, two of the region’s so-called “tiger cub economies”. The term relates to countries undergoing rapid economic growth and an increase of standard of living.

Domain Group economist Trent Wiltshire said as more people from these countries began to participate in Australia’s economy, their interest in buying Australian property could increase.

“Growing links to Australia through more international students arriving will increase and strengthen the links between countries like Vietnam, Thailand and India,” he said.

Mr Wiltshire said it was difficult to gauge how many wealthy investors would want to invest their capital in Australia, but Australian companies setting up to sell in these countries was a good sign.

Housing market confidence has hit a two-year low.

CAAN:  A photo of typical housing estates across Western Sydney and Melbourne enduring the “heat island effect” with black rooves, no trees, on tiny lots as little as 200M2; highly inflated land prices $550,00 plus … Such developments compounding water shortages in Australia.

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CAAN:  Photo “The Ponds” a Western Sydney suburb July 2018 … the reeds have withered.  Row upon row of development on tiny lots.  More sites under preparation …

DEVELOPERS PUSH FOR A 9.9 MILLION POPULATION FOR WESTERN SYDNEY 2036 … YUK!

SYDNEY is rapidly losing its peri urban farmlands (Sydney’s foodbowl) and Koala habitat, fauna and flora in Riverstone, Rouse Hill, Box Hill, Penrith, and in the Macarthur and Wollondilly with Mt Gilead, Menangle, and Wilton to developers.

STORY:

“Although this is just survey evidence [but] due to the lack of data … the delayed nature and scant evidence, these surveys are important,” he said. “We really need better data on foreign investment in property and real estate to get a better understanding of what’s happening.”

Mr Ellis said increasing investment into Australia would be dependent on whether or not these companies could sell the Australian dream of property investment to Indians, Vietnamese and Indonesians.

CAAN:  Examples of the “Australian Dream” that foreign buyers may invest in …

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CAAN:  Photo, a “proxy” dwelling.  Caveat emptor!

An apartment block has sprung up next to another home at 6 William Street, Lewisham.

CAAN:  Photo:  With the “high population growth” and housing supply that cannot meet the foreign demand “Australian Standards” and building regulations have been shelved in a basement … somewhere!  In Lewisham, a Sydney suburb.

 

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CAAN:  Photo … between 2 tiny cottages (200M2 x 6M lots) despite extensive drought conditions across Sydney … the local “Ponds” had dried out, and withered … yet it would appear there is a “water issue” here warranting rectification … however with fast builds, cost cutting, profiteering … this is what home buyers may be signing up for!
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CAAN:  Photo illustrating how close the “new homes” are at the rear. This is at “The Ponds”.  The Greenfields Housing Code introduced in 2018 allows for lots of 200M2 x 6M wide!   There is no land for children to play; on the side of this lot a narrow awning and a clothes line!  Nowhere for family BBQ’s.

With the increased competition for housing in Australia from overseas, housing prices skyrocketed locking our people out.  Developers have robbed Australians of urban bushlands, Heritage homes for inferior development like this!  SYDNEY and Melbourne have been Shanghai’d!

STORY:

While some market fundamentals in these three nations were similar to China, they so far lacked a culture of investing into Australia, said Mr Ellis.

“Wealthy people in those countries are looking for lifestyle [and] asset protection,” he said. “We’re one of the only countries that withstood the GFC.

“We’ve still got relative political stability. We’re one the most livable countries in the world, we’ve got some of the best education in the world.”

CAAN:

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Photo:  Why “A Big Australia is not Viable = we don’t have the Water!”

DAILY we hear of the interests of the developer and migration lobbyists, and the suggestion that the growth ought be shared in the regions … to address the population growth in our major cities … cough … cough …

SOURCE:

https://www.domain.com.au/news/australian-property-industry-turns-to-india-to-supplement-falling-chinese-investment-20180817-h144l7-

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SYDNEY WATER Network cracks under pressure of drought; leak jobs taking weeks to resolve

THE DROUGHT now covers 100 per cent of NSW … why should

SYDNEY WATER bear the brunt?

WHEN it is the GROWTH policies of the Turnbull and Berejiklian Governments for which they should take responsibility …

those policies are exacerbating the impact of climate change, the drought

AUSTRALIA is the driest continent on Earth, and unlike the United States which is slightly bigger, it has very few rivers crossing it …

IT is good that Sydney Water has beefed up their frontline, but how can that ultimately solve the problem?

Sydney Water network cracks under pressure of drought; leak jobs taking weeks to resolve

Sydney Water says it is drowning in leaks across the city due to the NSW drought, with some pipes spurting water for weeks before being repaired.

Key points:

  • Sydney Water says due to the drought, soil is dry and pipes are shifting and cracking
  • Customers are furious with the water wastage as some leaks are not fixed for weeks
  • The water firm has urged people to be patient and increased maintenance crew numbers

As customers become furious about the water wastage, the utility company has urged patience as their teams experience a high workload due to dry soil.

“I can see occasionally … our leaks have run for longer than others,” Sydney Water’s network manager Gary Hurley said.

“I’d apologise to any customer who gets frustrated in trying to get an issue resolved.

“I would appeal to people’s patience.”

 

But Steve Batten in Leichhardt said his patience ran out recently, when a leaking pipe on Flood Street gushed water for 50 days.

“When NSW is in drought, it is pretty piss weak that this wastage continues,” he said.

Mr Batten took a basic measure of how much water was being lost and the result — at least 3 litres of water per minute.

He made numerous reports to Sydney Water and even took the matter direct to his local state member.

Finally it was fixed but Mr Hurley said the wait time was “exceptional”.

“We don’t get it right all the time.”

The complaints about long delays and water wastage have continued to flood in, with many people taking issue with Sydney Water’s performance.

Nic Spencer in Beverly Hills said he had water cascading down his street for four weeks.

“We are in one of our worst droughts ever and farmers are committing suicide because of the intense stress of no rain,” he said.

“[But] we have water pouring down our street … I called again today, for the third time to be told that it ‘may’ be repaired next week as it is ‘not a priority’.”

Michelle Kondoulis in Rydalmere was also in disbelief after an almost week-long wait for water bubbling from the road to be addressed.

“What are we waiting for? That’s a hell of a lot of water going to waste every minute, hour, day,” she said.

“We had what looked like a bubbler running constantly.

“Nothing [for almost a week] despite using snap, send, solve, calling and talking to their Facebook page.”

So why all the leaks and cracks now?

Sydney went into a rainfall deficit in 2016 and that deficit has gradually become worse and worse with soil moisture now at a very reduced level.

And when moisture in soil changes, pipes start to shift and move.

“It can eventually work weaknesses into pipes which can result in increases in leaks and breaks,” Mr Hurley said.

“It’s been building … now quite deep levels of the soil are moving.”

Mr Hurley said he understands that in the drought, which now covers 100 per cent of NSW, people will have increased expectations of the company.

“Organisations like ours will be looked at to lead the way,” he said.

“That’s the way it should be.”

In response, Sydney Water has beefed up their frontline and maintenance teams by taking on extra contractor crews.

Customers often cannot understand how problems might take days or weeks to resolve but Mr Hurley said the consequences of shutting the water off can be far reaching.

“If we shut it down, it may impact schools, commercial premises, companies, or a large number of customers,” Mr Hurley said.

“Sometimes that leads to leaks running a little bit longer than what we would desire but in our view that’s in the greater good in terms of maintaining supply to the wider community.”

Mr Hurley made the assurance that Sydney Water was a strong performer when it came to minimising leaks.

“My understanding is that we are still at the top end of the acceptable range.”

SOURCE:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-10/sydney-water-pipes-cracking-under-pressure-of-drought/10089808

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WATER SCARCITY: the inconvenient truth

 

WATER SCARCITY:  THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH IMMIGRATION BOOSTERS IGNORE

AUSTRALIA NOW HAS 25 MILLION PEOPLE

MOST of us live on a narrow coastal strip, and the majority of our land which has very few rivers crossing it, is dry … back in 2009 former Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry raised similar concerns about this:

“…with a population of 22 million people, we haven’t managed to find accommodation with our environment. Our record has been poor and in my view we are not well placed to deal effectively with the environmental challenges posed by a population of 35 million.”

WHY ALLOW BUSINESS TO DICTATE HIGH POPULATION GROWTH TO SUIT THEIR INTERESTS FIRST?

FROM THE COMMENTS:

“When they were planned Melbourne desal plant was designed to supply 30% of the city’s population and Sydney’s 10%. Since then their populations have grown by about 40%.

Also since then catchments have been degraded by logging in Melbourne, and coal mining in Sydney. That means reduced inflow into Melbourne and possibly reduced capacity in Sydney. As dam levels drop we might find increasingly salinity makes the remaining water unusable. They are having a similar problem in many parts of central NSW now. As dam levels have fallen to around 30% increased concentration of fertilizer from agriculture run-off and warm weather have meant blue-green algae outbreaks in the remaining supply.

A few towns are already on the brink:

Drought-hit town of Murrurundi has three months of water left: What happens then?”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-08-05/the-town-about-to-run-out-of-water/10073762

WATER SCARCITY:  THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH IMMIGRATION BOOSTERS IGNORE

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

August 6, 2018

By Leith van Onselen

Back in February, Dr Jonathan Sobels – a senior research fellow at the University of South Australia and the author of a key 2010 report prepared for the Department of Immigration entitled Long-term physical implications of net overseas migration: Australia in 2050 

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Sobels-Immigration-Dept-report-2010-physical-implications-migration-fullreport.pdf

– gave a brilliant incisive interview on ABC’s Radio National that among other things warned that Australia’s water security is being placed at risk from endless mass immigration:

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/03/dr-sobels-government-needs-wake-impacts-mass-immigration/

…we are coming up towards physical limitations within our physical, built and natural environments that will lead to compromises in the quality of our life…

Not only are the dams not filling, but the ground water supplies are not filling. The only option you have open to you is water efficiency use and whacking up desal plants. But if your population keeps increasing at the rates we have seen in recent times, you won’t be able to afford putting up billion dollar desal plants, which also have their environmental impacts…

In March, ABC News warned that Australia’s water supplies will be placed under intense pressure as the nation’s population balloons:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-19/drinking-recycled-water/9546900

In Sydney, when Warragamba dam is full, the city has about four years worth of water supply.

Double the population, as is forecast in 50 years, and that falls to two years worth of water supply — and that is only when it is full, a scenario that might become a lot less frequent with climate change.

But that is what desalination plants are for, right? Well … only to a point.

In Sydney, most of the 725,000 new dwellings that will need to be built by 2036 to keep pace with population growth will be built in the west, according to the Greater Sydney Commission…  the trend is the same for all coastal capital cities: population growth is moving away from the coast and away from desalination plants.

“Water being non-compressible and quite a heavy substance — it’s quite expensive to transport,” said Mr Lovell.

“Even if you’re looking at Sydney on the coast through to Penrith or from Wonthaggi to the north of Melbourne — you’re looking at 80 to 90 kilometres. That’s really expensive, and it’s a really inefficient way to transport water”…

Professor Khan said a whole new set of pipelines would need to be built to get desalinated water west of there, where the population growth will be.

“The further you (pump desalinated water) inland, the more you’re working in a direction that is opposite to the way our water supply systems are designed and operate,” he said.

“They pump water from the source — up in the reservoirs, up in the hills — to the coast. And it’s very difficult to actually turn that around.”

Of course, desalination plants are environmentally destructive and hideously expensive, with costs borne by the incumbent population, as noted by The Conversation:

https://theconversation.com/cape-town-is-almost-out-of-water-could-australian-cities-suffer-the-same-fate-90933

The desalination plants were expensive to build, consume vast quantities of electricity and are very expensive to run. They remain costly to maintain, even if they do not supply desalinated water. All residents pay higher water rates as a result of their existence.

Indeed, in December, Infrastructure Australia reported that household water bills will double in line with energy bills because of population growth and climate change – hitting more than $2500 a year by 2040:

(The Australian:  National affairs/warning on water bill costs doubling)

Modelling in the report forecasts that a typical residential water and sewerage bill “could rise by around $600 in today’s money over the next 10 years”. This would result in average bills increasing from $1226 to $1827 in 2027. By 2040, the modelling shows the average would reach as high as $2553. This would represent more than a doubling in real terms.

“For many families, growth in bills of this scale could cause significant hardship”…

The report says that a failure to factor in urban population growth, ageing infrastructure and climate change impacts on supply would expose consumers to price shock risks…

Now, NSW and parts of QLD are in the grips of a severe drought, which is decimating rural communities:

https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/cost-of-hay-to-feed-animals-sending-farmers-broke/news-story/013ef510afc617d4d329722fc2f3ad8a

 

Farmers have said this drought is the worst they’ve faced financially.

Some have reported churning through $1 million in a year just trying to feed their livestock…

Properties are too dry to produce any feed of their own and livestock are so starving farmers have been forced to shoot thousands of animals to put them out of their misery.

Mr Alder, who started the hay charity in 2013, has been inundated with requests from desperate farmers across the country…

Their waiting list is 850 farmers long and Mr Alder said sadly if they delivered a trailer to someone one month, they would only be calling again a month later…

NSW has recorded the fifth-driest July on record with the dry spell marking the seventh consecutive month of below-average rainfall across the state.

The latest Bureau of Meteorology climate summary, released on Wednesday, found it was also the driest July since 2002 with many areas across the state recording the lowest July rainfall on record or the lowest amount for at least 20 years.

Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries estimates 57 per cent of that state is in drought.

Sydney’s water catchments, too, are shrinking due to insufficient rainfall meeting rising demand:

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/environment/weather/record-low-rainfall-water-storage-sink-20180802-p4zv5p.html

Water levels at storages supplying the Sydney metropolitan area are sinking amid a lack of rain and rising consumption…

“All Sydney storage levels have fallen as water is used to provide for Sydney’s water supply, while record low rainfall in catchment areas [has resulted] in minimal replenishing inflows,” a WaterNSW spokesman said.

“The absence of significant rainfall forecast and the extremely dry catchments means, unfortunately, there is little prospect of respite statewide in the short term”…

July was Sydney’s driest since 1995… The extended dry spell for much of Sydney – and the rest of the state – has triggered a rise in water consumption…

Gary Hurley, Sydney Water’s manager for networks, said the drying conditions had led to a spike in leaks and breaks in water pipes…

Water deficiencies are spreading across eastern Australia, especially in NSW.

Water scarcity is the elephant in the room of the population debate, and an issue that Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ boosters conveniently ignore.

In addition to the exorbitant costs of securing our cities’ water supplies as their populations balloon, the regular droughts occurring across regional Australia makes the smokescreen of ‘decentralisation’ and shifting migrants to the regions a pipe dream – there simply isn’t enough water to sustain large regional populations.

There is, of course, an cheap and easy solution to ameliorating water pressures – one that requires minimal additional investment, nor expensive technical solutions like desalination of recycling of effluent: cutting immigration back to historical levels:

As noted in the 2010 report prepared for the Department of Immigration, entitled Long-term physical implications of net overseas migration: Australia in 2050:

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Sobels-Immigration-Dept-report-2010-physical-implications-migration-fullreport.pdf

Decreased urban water supply is a significant environmental constraint exacerbated by higher levels of NOM.  Modelling shows the vulnerability of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to deficits in water supply, on a NOM strategy of 260,000 pa.: a view strongly supported by empirical review of State Government reports…

Only NOM levels of 50,000 pa or less result in Melbourne and Sydney maintaining a small surplus of net surface supply over demand on average out to 2050, assuming current climate conditions persist. Potential options to alleviate water stress at high NOM levels over the longer term may be hard to find.

Former Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, raised similar concerns in 2009:

https://treasury.gov.au/speech/the-shape-of-things-to-come-long-run-forces-affecting-the-australian-economy-in-coming-decades/

“…with a population of 22 million people, we haven’t managed to find accommodation with our environment. Our record has been poor and in my view we are not well placed to deal effectively with the environmental challenges posed by a population of 35 million.”

Clearly, Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy is a key threat to Australia’s water security. So why exacerbate the problem in the first place, when it can be ameliorated by simply returning Australia’s immigration intake back to the historical average of 70,000 people a year?

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

SOURCE:  https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/08/water-scarcity-inconvenient-truth-immigration-boosters-ignore/

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Our Role in the Death of a river … the Murray Darling …

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Our role in the death of a river

Illustration: Dionne Gain
Illustration: Dionne GainPhoto:

“Darling. (Yes darling.) Nothing darling. Just darling, darling.” Crossing the mighty Darling River always reminds me of this little ditty deployed, back in the day, by punk rocker Ian Dury. This time, though, we’re just outside Louth, a hundred clicks west-south-west of Bourke, and as our ancient Land Cruiser lumbers across the old box-girder bridge it’s another voice that murmurs “as he died to make things holy, let us die to make things cheap”. Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker seeps from the sound-system like coal tar from a wound.

“Stop the truck,” I insist. I need a picture, for the mighty Darling is mighty no longer. It’s a dotted line, traversed by bare khaki dirt in several places. Less a chain of ponds, this poor dishevelled deity, than a chain of puddles.

I’d woken that morning rubbing my feet on the delicious soft roughness of plain cotton sheets, 30 bucks from Kmart. I mean, who knew Kmart could do anything without polyester and fluoro, right? Beside me, the tiny grandson gurgled happily in his new, pelican-pattern all-cotton Wondersuit, just $14 from Bonds.

But in a flash, on the bridge, I see the links. I applaud Kmart’s new venture into a kind of plainness approaching taste. It’s almost Quakerish, almost noble in its simplicity. Bonds is excelling itself in the design department and even Target makes a feature of “Pure Australian cotton”. That’s all great. But the cheapness is illusory. Because this right here is the cost. We’re buying this cotton with our river, our grandchildren’s future.

Which, I also see, is Cohen’s bitter satirical point. As he died to make things holy, let us die to make things cheap. A prophet makes the ultimate sacrifice hoping to bring humans to sacredness – to where they’re no longer driven to sacrifice other creatures but can instead sacrifice self, especially ego, for the wrathful gods. But humans, ever perverse, misuse this freedom, sacrificing entire ecosystems to the small idols of pleasure. Cheap nice things.

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Perhaps it’s all obvious. The interconnectedness of everything is the environment movement’s core tenet. But still we mostly fail to join the dots. We deplore the river’s destruction without understanding our own part in it. We observe the war between farmers and greens without seeing that we are, every one of us, its footsoldiers. We feel the temptation of universal cheap goods as a right – a social justice issue – not a privilege. For poor worn mother Earth, this is a problem.

It’s almost 12 months since that astonishing ABC Four Corners reportPumped. It alleged that, despite five years of the $13 billion Murray-Darling water-buyback plan that was meant to “fix” the river, “billions of litres of water purchased by Australian taxpayers to save Australia’s inland rivers are instead being harvested by some irrigators to boost cotton-growing operations”.

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A bumper cotton crop during times of drought is no miracle.Photo: Nick Moir

The program alleged widespread water-theft and meter-tampering. Cables unplugged, batteries removed, impellers disabled. Massive earthworks, tens of kilometres long, diverted water illegally. At least one senior civil servant was accused of colluding with irrigators and at least one farmer, said the ABC, “took at least 1 billion litres of water more than was permitted”. In fact, it reported, both legally and illegally, more water was being removed under the plan than before.

 

At first federal water minister Barnaby Joyce tried to ignore the scandal.  Such was the public outrage, however, and the mountain of evidence, that he eventually ordered an interstate compliance review from the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

This review, completed in November, revealed that monitoring is staggeringly under-resourced. (NSW, with the most water licences and highest outtake, also has lowest vigilance, with one compliance officer for every 355 gigalitres of diverted water, compared with one per 56 gigalitres in SA). “Pumping must not occur without a meter,” noted the report. We wish.

 

Image may contain: tree, sky, outdoor, nature and water

The Darling River is suffering.
The Darling River is suffering.Photo: Katharine McBride

It seems so basic. To measure flow and out-take is so fundamental to any kind of enforcement that most of us no doubt presumed metering was in place. We thought the plan – being so extraordinarily expensive – was a genuine exercise in river-rehab. We thought we could trust them with it. So not.

“COTTON’S TRIFECTA,” shouts the banner headline on a recent cover of The Land newspaper; “Yield, quality and price up as growers roll through picking.” Without a trace of irony the story declares: “While many other rural pursuits struggle with the drought, cotton is bathing in a glow, especially with prices tipping close to $600 a bale. The Macquarie Valley has seen a ‘phenomenal’ harvest.

 

Well, terrific. Lovely to have the money, the jobs, the cheap quality cotton. But this success is based on all kinds of theft. There’s the illegal kind alleged by Four Corners and working its way through the courts, the kind that lax or no monitoring encourages. And then there’s the legal kind – the heist that is sanctioned by government, which has allocated so much of a precious resource to such a  crop.

It’s not like these cotton farmers miraculously escape drought that cripples others.  Indeed, even when taking water by the rules, they actively deepen the drought for others; for other farmers and for down-river communities like Wilcannia, where fish are dead and dry on the mud, and for other states. At the Murray mouth Coorong wetlands, migratory shore-birds are at their lowest recorded level and a centimetres-thick blanket of algae covers much of the surface. There’s also the river itself. How can forcing water-hungry crops from the driest continent really be a source of pride?

Surely we know by now to work with nature, rather than beating her into submission? Yes, jobs matter. But massive solar plants would use nature’s gifts to feed the future, rather than destroying them.

Perhaps, like New Zealand, we’ll have to give rivers the legal rights of a person. What’s that? You want cheap clothes? Oh darling, cry me river.

Twitter: @emfarrelly

 

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CHINA TO EASILY OUTDO AUSTRALIA ON AN AGE-OLD PROBLEM

CHINA obviously plans well …. it seems not so inscrutable now they have the Aussie game sewn up … with Turnbull guvmnt policies all skewed their way.

 

HAROLD MITCHELL sat down with a Chinese property developer who said he is looking for a place in Australia to build a village for elderly Chinese to take a break from time to time.

The village he built on the outskirts of Beijing houses 800,000 …

WHAT will this mean if he is to succeed? Further loss of farmlands, or urban bushlands, and habitat for another overdevelopment where we live?  Chinese healthcare companies now own many of our nursing homes and retirement villages … recall the Four Corners programme on “Aveo” …

Currently we are running out of cemetery space! How secure is our MEDICARE CARD?

THE ONE BELT ONE ROAD ROLLS ON!

 

 

China is better than us at an age-old problem

Today finds me in a very hot and steamy Beijing where the temperature has reached 32 degrees, with smog threatening. But this city seems to have brushed it off. It’s an exciting place to be.

Last night saw a brilliant performance by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to a very grateful and respectful audience as Sir Andrew Davis, one of the top 10 conductors in the world, took the orchestra through the works of Vine, Bruch and Tchaikovsky. The audience enthusiastically demanded two encores before we all went on to a grand reception. This country really knows how to entertain people.

China has 16 per cent of its population aged over 60 compared with Australia’s 21 per cent.
China has 16 per cent of its population aged over 60 compared with Australia’s 21 per cent.Photo: Supplied

Business is banqueting, and banqueting is business in China. Tonight’s banquet, I’m told will be no less than eight courses starting at 6pm and finishing at 7pm. Charlie’s quick mind works out that’s a course every seven minutes. I dare not ask for the vegetarian option for fear of having the same dish eight times over, as happened to a leading Australian educationist recently. I am also advised that there will be two speeches and six toasts of a fiery drink called Baijiu, the most consumed distilled spirit in the world.

This is a very organised place and as we arrived, the news broke that the Chinese government is planning to scrap control on families completely, having imposed the one child policy in 1979 and revised it in 2015 to allow a second child. Perhaps it is recognition that the modern Chinese woman cannot be controlled this way any more.

But it also reflects a concern about the future of the country’s demographic spread. The Chinese government has no expectation that the country’s fertility rate will reach replacement in the near future. China has 16 per cent of its population aged over 60 compared with Australia’s 21 per cent and it is set to continue to age dramatically just like Japan which now has 33 per cent of its people over 60. An ageing country is ultimately a shrinking country.

However, China is taking an approach to its older people that we could well learn from. I sat with a property developer who had built a village on the outskirts of Beijing, a city of 30 million people. This village has a population of 800,000, the majority of whom are about 100-years-old and he is looking for a place in Australia to build a village for around 20,000 so that his older people could take a break from time to time in our country.

I’m not sure that we in Australia are doing the best by our aged folk. Families are not the strength that they once were. Hugh Mackay, the great commentator and author, makes the point that one in two families are now breaking up with members often living miles apart across busy cities. Many families are scattered all over the country. We have a wonderful country but as Mackay says we’re a society that is overanxious, overweight, overmedicated and financially overstretched with a third likely to be affected by mental illness.

The Chinese are great planners. It’s nothing for them to have five, 10 or even 100-year visions and then apply the resources and energy to realise them. They also have a great sense of place and family. They can see the social and economic benefits of developing villages that we would call cities, which support the fabric of family life right through into old age.

Charlie and Louise are both travelling with me and remind me that the backyard with the bungalow where the aged uncle Jack spent his retiring years has all but disappeared.

“And so has the backyard,” laments Louise.

We need much more proactive policies to respond positively to our ageing population. We need to provide encouragement for people aged over 60 to continue working well beyond the traditional retirement age. This will require us to develop suitable roles and provide ongoing retraining. We also need to reduce ageism among employers. Some might argue that increasing net migration helps but it won’t because migrants age as well.

The other related challenge is suitable health care for those approaching the end of their life. As in all things, Australia’s provision of infrastructure lags behind the needs of a changing population.

This visit to Beijing makes me think China’s forward planning may well be better than ours. The Middle Kingdom has been a source of wisdom for many centuries, and the more time I spend in this country the more I realise that we have a great deal to learn from each other.

I’ll spend much of tomorrow looking further into the One Belt One Road initiative accompanied by another eight-course banquet I dare say.

“And I’m already looking for a bigger belt,” says Charlie.

“Before we hit the road,” quips Louise.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/china-is-better-than-us-at-an-age-old-problem-20180524-p4zh8v.html

WATER BILLS HEADED ‘SAME WAY AS ENERGY’ AS POPULATION GAINS, CLIMATE CHANGE BITES

 

Image may contain: sky, outdoor, nature and water

(Photo:  the dam sediment that smothers the present shoreline of Warragamba dam at April 2018.)

Do you think the plants and animals of the Blue Mountains deserve another 4,700 hectares of this? If you don’t, sign the petition to stop it happening at goo.gl/zSWewC

Rising population and climate change could translate into much higher water bills without action being taken now.

WATER BILLS HEADED ‘SAME WAY AS ENERGY’ AS POPULATION GAINS, CLIMATE CHANGE BITE

By Peter Hannam
7 December 2017

Urban water users face water bills that will increase by half within a decade and continue to climb without “substantial” reform as rising population and climate change add stress to ageing networks, Infrastructure Australia said in a new report.

The future surge will build on a steady run-up in costs in recent years even as total water consumption has stagnated since the 1980s, with consumers responding to calls for more thrifty use.

The paper, Reforming Urban Water, also argues poor planning processes led to an $11 billion splurge on desalination plants that – with the exception of Perth – have largely gone unused and precluded cheaper short-term measures.

Victoria earlier this year ruled out a second plant after its multi-billion dollar Wonthaggi was left on standby since its completion five years ago.

People could be paying a lot more for water in the future.

Among 12 recommendations, the report calls for the creation of a national independent body to provide states with inducements to implement reforms. The report also calls for privatisation of water assets once regulations and governance are “sufficiently robust”.

Such an entity would “congratulate reform where it occurs, hold the feet to the fire where it doesn’t occur, and makes sure that it calls out backsliding against those reforms”, Adrian Dwyer, executive director of Infrastructure Australia, said.

Typical residential water and sewerage bills had already risen by an average of 8 per cent a year after inflation to about $1226 in 2017.

Bills are projected to increase to $1827 in today’s dollars by 2027, and more than double – to around $2550 – by 2040 and would continue to rise, the report said.

Ageing infrastructure: A fire truck sinks into a hole after a water main burst at Bilgola in Sydney’s north.

(view link for photo)

“If we don’t want water bills to go the same way energy bills have over recent years, then the governments need to act on this now,” Mr Dwyer said.

Stuart Khan, an Associate Professor in the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of NSW, welcomed the report.

Rising demand: Pipes to Sydney from Prospect Reservior from Warragamba Dam.

(view link for photo)

“Increased water efficiency and the increased use of strategies such as recycling take time to develop and implement,” Professor Khan said. “We can’t allow ourselves to sit back and wait for the next crisis.”

“The abolition of the National Water Commission in 2015 [by the Abbott government] has left Australia with no effective national oversight of water management or reform issues,” he said.

Thomson Reservoir, Melbourne’s largest water supply.

(view link for photo)

“That leaves the states to go off on their own with conflicting approaches and variable levels of interest or capability for improvement.”

Professor Khan also cautioned about selling off water assets: “Government ownership can work very well and has some clear advantages when effectively managed.”

Adding stress

One driver is the expected population jump. Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane will swell by almost six million people in the two decades to 2031, adding some three million new residences.

Total annual water supplied will double to more than 15,000 gigalitres, the report said.
Adding strain to the ageing infrastructure will be climate change, which is “likely to have a growing influence on how urban water is supplied, used and managed”, it said.

The climate stressors – already a feature given Australia’s highly variable annual rainfall

– will likely worsen as a warming planet generates more frequent and intense rainfall events, especially in the north.

In the south, the lower rainfall patterns that appear to have become entrenched in recent decades could become drier.

Rising temperatures will also likely add further threats to water storages by boosting evaporation and the number of high-risk bushfire days each year.

States, though, had been getting some things right.

Urban water use had been largely static since the 1980s even as millions more users arrived.

Sydney’s water use, for instance, dropped about 20 per cent in the quarter century to 2016 even as the population rose 25 per cent. (See chart below.)

A changing industry mix was one factor, as were public campaigns, including mandatory curbs and higher prices.

Victoria was the “standout performer” for economic regulation, given its “high degree of independence and transparency” that gave incentives to promote efficiency.

By contrast, NSW’s Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal could have its independence “strengthened”, while regional NSW had “no effective regulation”, the report said.

With most dams filling up near major cities after the Millenium Drought ended in 2007, only Perth has had to resort to major desalination plant use.

Politics

Professor Khan said one of the problems in urban water management currently had been the politicisation of decision-making.

“Decisions like the Sydney desalination plant were made in the lead-up to state elections to beef up election platforms, rather than to produce long-term sustainable solutions,” he said, with an ALP focus group the primary prompt

“Government ministers then went into overdrive to try to kill off talk of alternative water supply solutions, such as water recycling and urban stormwater harvesting,” he said, adding decisions were made without the close involvement of Sydney Water.

Peter Hannam is Environment Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald. He covers broad environmental issues ranging from climate change to renewable energy for Fairfax Media.

SOURCE:  https://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-bills-headed-same-way-as-energy-as-population-gains-climate-change-bite-20171207-h00aji.html

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AUSTRALIA’S WATER SUPPLY AT RISK AS POPULATION BALLOONS

 

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AUSTRALIA’S WATER SUPPLY AT RISK AS POPULATION BALLOONS

OBVIOUSLY Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy is a key threat to Australia’s water security.

MELBOURNE:

-ecologists warn that the water supply is at risk due to the collapse of state forests caused by logging

-currently 4.9 million through high immigration expected to balloon to 8 million people mid-century

INFRASTRUCTURE AUSTRALIA reported (December 2017) that household water bills will double because of population growth and climate change – hitting more than $2500 a year by 2040 – as supply is augmented through expensive desalination plants.

February 2018 DR JONATHAN SOBELS warned not only are the dams not filling, but the ground water supplies are not filling

SYDNEY:

The Greater Sydney Commission proposes 725,000 new dwellings by 2036 to be built in the west; away from desalination plants …. ???

Melbourne’s water supply on verge of “disaster” as population balloons

View for graph:

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/05/

MELBOURNE’S WATER SUPPLY ON VERGE OF DISASTER AS POPULATION BALLOONS

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

May 1, 2018
By Leith van Onselen

Ecologists have today warned that Melbourne’s water supply is at risk due to the “collapse” of state forests caused by logging. From The Guardian:

New research led by Prof David Lindenmayer of ANU, published in PNAS journal on Tuesday, has found the ecosystem has already begun to undergo a “hidden collapse”…

The majority of Melbourne’s water catchments are in mountain ash forests, which are either protected in national parks or in state forests where logging is either allowed or has previously occurred.

If those forests have been damaged or are still growing, Lindenmayer said, they draw 12 megalitres more water per hectare per year than forests that are more than 100 years old.

More than 98% of the mountain ash forest in Victoria is no more than 80 years old, and most of those in key catchment areas are less than 80.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/01/melbournes-water-supply-at-risk-due-to-collapse-of-forests-caused-by-logging

In the Upper Thomson catchment, which feeds Melbourne’s largest water supply dam, the Thomson reservoir, about 61% of the trees have been logged.

https://www.melbournewater.com.au/community-and-education/about-our-water/water-storage-reservoirs/Thomson

“That’s a serious issue because two-thirds of all the rainfall in that catchment falls on one-third of the area and that’s the ash forest … that’s called an own goal,” Lindenmayer said…

“My hope is that at some stage people will wake up and say, ‘Oh my god, that’s the water supply for 4.5 million Melburnians,’” Lindenmayer said. “Is it appropriate to compromise the water supply of soon-to-be Australia’s largest city?”

4.5 million Melbournians? Try 4.9 million currently, with the city’s population projected to balloon to 8 million people mid-century.

Regardless, warnings over insufficient water supply across Australia’s major cities have accumulated recently.

In December, Infrastructure Australia reported that household water bills will double in line with energy bills because of population growth and climate change – hitting more than $2500 a year by 2040 – as supply is augmented through expensive desalination plants.

In February, Dr Jonathan Sobels – a senior research fellow at the University of South Australia and the author of a key 2010 report prepared for the Department of Immigration entitled Long-term physical implications of net overseas migration: Australia in 2050 – gave a brilliant incisive interview on ABC’s Radio National that among other things warned that Australia’s water security is being placed at risk from endless mass immigration:

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Sobels-Immigration-Dept-report-2010-physical-implications-migration-fullreport.pdf

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/03/dr-sobels-government-needs-wake-impacts-mass-immigration/

…we are coming up towards physical limitations within our physical, built and natural environments that will lead to compromises in the quality of our life…

Not only are the dams not filling, but the ground water supplies are not filling.

The only option you have open to you is water efficiency use and whacking up desal plants. But if your population keeps increasing at the rates we have seen in recent times, you won’t be able to afford putting up billion dollar desal plants, which also have their environmental impacts…

And in March, ABC News warned that Australia’s water supplies will be placed under intense pressure as the nation’s population balloons:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-19/drinking-recycled-water/9546900
Increasing demand for water needs to be addressed…

In Sydney, most of the 725,000 new dwellings that will need to be built by 2036 to keep pace with population growth will be built in the west, according to the Greater Sydney Commission.

The compass direction changes, but the trend is the same for all coastal capital cities: population growth is moving away from the coast and away from desalination plants.

“Water being non-compressible and quite a heavy substance — it’s quite expensive to transport,” said Mr Lovell.

“Even if you’re looking at Sydney on the coast through to Penrith or from Wonthaggi to the north of Melbourne — you’re looking at 80 to 90 kilometres. That’s really expensive, and it’s a really inefficient way to transport water”…

Professor Khan said a whole new set of pipelines would need to be built to get desalinated water west of there, where the population growth will be.

Unfortunately, desalination plants are environmentally destructive and hideously expensive, with costs borne by the incumbent population, as noted by The Conversation:

https://theconversation.com/cape-town-is-almost-out-of-water-could-australian-cities-suffer-the-same-fate-90933

The desalination plants were expensive to build, consume vast quantities of electricity and are very expensive to run. They remain costly to maintain, even if they do not supply desalinated water. All residents pay higher water rates as a result of their existence.

There is, of course, a cheap solution to ameliorating water pressures – one that requires minimal additional investment, nor expensive technical solutions like desalination plants: cutting immigration back to historical levels:

As noted in the 2010 report prepared for the Department of Immigration, entitled Long-term physical implications of net overseas migration: Australia in 2050:

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Sobels-Immigration-Dept-report-2010-physical-implications-migration-fullreport.pdf

Decreased urban water supply is a significant environmental constraint exacerbated by higher levels of NOM. Modelling shows the vulnerability of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to deficits in water supply…

Only NOM levels of 50,000 pa or less result in Melbourne and Sydney maintaining a small surplus of net surface supply over demand on average out to 2050, assuming current climate conditions persist. Potential options to alleviate water stress at high NOM levels over the longer term may be hard to find.

Clearly, Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy is a key threat to Australia’s water security. So why exacerbate the problem in the first place, when it can be ameliorated by simply returning Australia’s immigration intake back to the historical average of 70,000 people a year?

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

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Murray-Darling Basin Plan: $8 billion spent and still the Coorong wetland is dying

 

Murray-Darling Basin Plan: $8 billion spent and still the Coorong wetland is dying

Updated:  Saturday 28 April 2018

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is six years in and Australian taxpayers have spent $8 billion on it so far — yet the internationally significant ecosystem at the end of the basin, the Coorong, is dying.

The south lagoon of the Coorong lies at the very end of the Murray-Darling Basin in South Australia.

It’s salt water, but not as we know it — the south lagoon can be up to three times as salty as the sea.

Ecologist David Paton says it explains just how unique this place is: the Coorong gets gradually more salty as it runs more than 100 kilometres from the north lagoon down to the south, and as that happens the biodiversity changes too.

“As you come down that gradient the biodiversity changes from being lots of little fishes at the top end, and when you get to the south lagoon there’s just one fish that’s really salt tolerant,” Mr Paton said.

“Some people would know it as whitebait, but it’s hardyhead.

There’s one prominent invertebrate, it’s a little chironomid, and there’s one key aquatic plant, a plant called Ruppia tuberosa.”

One fish, one insect and one plant doesn’t sound like a rich habitat, but Mr Paton says it is quite the contrary — this bare-bones foundation can support a huge number of birds.

“Salinity has been its natural state for the last few hundred years, and the biota that’s in it clearly likes living in high salinity,” he said.

“Lots of people say high salinity usually reduces productivity, but the organisms that form this south lagoon system are highly productive, so you only need a few of them.”

So many birds come here to feed and nest that the Coorong has been declared a Ramsar-listed wetland.

The Ramsar Convention is an agreement to protect wetlands of international importance, and signatory countries promise to look after any wetlands within their borders which make it onto the list.

There are 16 Ramsar-listed wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin, but of all of them, the Coorong is supposed to have the greatest wealth of waterbirds.

That includes local species and the all-important migratory shorebirds — birds which fly to the Coorong every year, like the curlew sandpiper.

It’s a critically endangered species which travels from Siberia to the Coorong, where it spends the Australian summer fattening up before it takes flight again.

The Coorong also has the only permanent breeding ground for pelicans in South Australia, key habitats for other bird species, fish, and even the odd emu wanders down to the shore.

The early warning system

The Coorong isn’t just a pretty place with nice birds — it can tell us a lot about what’s going on with the health of the basin.

Rivers die from the mouth up, so if the very end of the Murray-Darling Basin system is struggling, that’s not a good sign for what’s happening up river.

Mr Paton has been collecting bird data here for the past 30 years, but in the last two years, during the Basin Plan, he says the numbers of the shorebird species which make this place so special have hit a record low.

The first year was bad — but what really worried Mr Paton was that in the following year, the birds couldn’t bounce back.

“It’s the shorebirds in particular which have been really low,” he says.

“If this was a healthy system, we would be typically getting 30-50,000 red-necked stints, 20-30,000 sharp tailed sandpipers, and curlew sandpipers, even under normal circumstances, we expect 5-10,000 — that’s just three species.

“And then there’s a suite of other things — banded stilts, black-winged stilts, which are an Australian species.

“Even in the middle of the millennium drought there was nearly 250,000 banded stilts in the south lagoon of the Coorong alone.”

So how many shorebirds has he seen in the Coorong in the past two years?

“I think we’ve seen 10-20,000 total in the Coorong in the last couple of years, and that’s across all species, not just the few common ones,” Mr Paton said.

Last summer’s bird count only registered 968 curlew sandpipers, when they should have numbered between 5,000 and 10,000, he explained.

‘This country does not care about nature’

A Background Briefing investigation has come across an internal South Australian Government document — a report on the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) — which suggests they are preparing to lose up to 80 per cent of key species in the Coorong.

Breaching these limits means making an embarrassing confession to the Ramsar Wetland Convention and to the world.

This internal technical report shows the State Government knows the Coorong’s ecology is in real trouble, and on paper it’s already moving to re-frame the situation.

The report suggests re-defining the Limits of Acceptable Change for the Coorong, and setting them very low — at “greater than or equal to 80 per cent decline”.

It even gets into acceptable numbers of dead birds.

So if we look at just one species, the critically endangered curlew sandpiper, it suggests 4,092 birds could be lost from the south lagoon alone and on paper that would be acceptable.

Mr Paton says this would be sanctioning system collapse.

“We used to have tens of thousands of shorebirds here, you’d see them resting at times, the food base was much stronger,” he said.

“And we are just quietly kidding ourselves that we actually care about nature — this country does not care about nature.”

The South Australian Government has told Background Briefing that this report is not their official policy; it’s more like advice, and it will finalise its new policy sometime this year.

An environment spokesperson said since 2015, the waterbird LACs have had further refinements, including further statistical analysis.

They said the Government’s policy will come from the updated Ecological Character Description, expected to be completed by mid-2018.

Where has all the water gone?

Like other parts of the basin, the Coorong has been in slow decline since the 1980s when basin agriculture upstream became increasingly water-intensive.

The Basin Plan was supposed to rescue a basin in crisis, and ensure there was enough water to maintain a healthy environment and river system.

Despite the past six years of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and a spend totalling $8 billion so far, there’s just not enough water coming down the river for the Coorong.

Not enough water means the lagoons of the Coorong can’t function as they normally do.

But there’s also a second, big problem.

In the last three or four years, the Coorong has had massive algal blooms.

Algae starving birds to death

The algae blooms over summer on the water, and it catches on the aquatic plant Ruppia tuberosa that lives in the salty south lagoon and rips it out.

No Ruppia means no food for the birds.

But it doesn’t stop there; the algae has bloomed and died, and now it cakes the shoreline.

It stinks, and it forms a bleached white carpet over the sand.

Remember that one insect that lives here, the coronomid?

It hatches out of the sand, but if there’s a layer of algae, very few of the insects can get through.

Most just die in place after hatching.

So the birds have no Ruppia tuberosa to eat and also no coronomid to eat — knocking out two of the three major pillars which support this ecosystem.

“Little sandpipers, red-necked stints and so on, their numbers have been dropping, but they’re spending up to 90 per cent of their daytime foraging when they’re here,” Mr Paton said.

“Any bird that spends 90 per cent of its time foraging in January two months before it’s due to fatten is struggling.

“It doesn’t have enough food.”

The result is what you’d expect: after flying to the Coorong sometimes from the other side of the world, the birds starve to death here.

You won’t see them on the shoreline, because the foxes eat the carcasses.

But Mr Paton says he realised the truth when he went out onto the little islands of the Coorong where there are no foxes.

“You find these dead emaciated shorebirds sitting in amongst the rocks where they’ve died, and sometimes you’ll find 20 or 30,” he said.

“Some of them are now listed as critically endangered.”

Warning: system crash imminent

The south lagoon of the Coorong is normally pretty salty.

The South Australian Government has built a drain there, which releases water coming off agricultural land.

This water is less salty than the Coorong, so it freshens the south lagoon — and because it’s come from farmland, it has a lot of nutrients in it.

“Everyone’s against the high salinities, so they say, ‘Oh, we’ve got a high salinity problem, we can solve that by putting water in through the south-east in the end of this highly saline lagoon which freshens that end’,” Mr Paton said.

“Two things which favour algal blooms: lowering the salinity and adding nutrients, so the whole of the south lagoon now has nutrients in it.”

This drain is about to expand significantly under a South Australian Government project called the South East Flows Restoration Project, but very soon it could be officially counted under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

There’s a key vote due to come before the Senate when it sits in May.

At stake is whether Australia recovers any more water for the environment under the Basin Plan.

The states say the basin’s river systems don’t need any more water returned to them.

They say they can build engineering structures which will achieve “equivalent environmental outcomes”.

The project above that’s adding nutrients to the water? That’s one of those engineering structures.

The South East Flows Restoration Project website says to keep the salty south lagoon healthy there has to be between 60 and 100 grams of salt per litre in the water.

But according to documents released to the Senate, the South East Flows Restoration Project will dump agricultural water in the Coorong when salinity is as low as 60 grams per litre.

That level is the very bottom of what even the South Australian Government itself says is healthy.

So by kicking in at 60 grams per litre, the drain will take the lagoon out of a healthy range.

Mr Paton says that will cause the whole system to crash.

“Putting in the volumes that they want to put in is going to cause environmental damage to this system,” he said.

It’s going to lower the salinity — it already has in places, so, nutrients and salinity are going to favour algae.

“The Coorong is already responding negatively to what’s coming in and it’s going to be a lot worse.”

Background Briefing asked Mr Paton if the Coorong should be blacklisted by the international community of Ramsar if the South East Flows Restoration Project goes ahead.

He didn’t hesitate.

“Absolutely, it should probably have been blacklisted some time ago, because we were failing to meet our obligations under international agreements,” he says.

Background Briefing has a special two-part investigation into the Murray Darling Basin beginning on April 26.

 

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