Note: map available for media use
Friends of the Earth has accused the Murray-Darling Basin Authority
(MDBA) of ignoring thousands of wetlands when deciding how much water
should be returned to the environment.
According to the MDBA’s own report there are over 30,000 wetlands in the
Basin but the Authority only identified 2,442 of these as Key
It then chose just 18 of those key sites to include in its asset-based
model. This model works on the assumption that by supplying the
environmental water requirements of these 18 it will meet the
environmental water requirements of all wetlands. The Authority also
used a further 88 indicator sites for key ecosystem functions and
applied an end of system flow model.
"It is obvious that considering the water requirements of only 18
wetlands is not going to be enough to protect the health of 30,000
wetlands across the Murray-Darling Basin" said Carmel Flint,
spokesperson for Friends of the Earth.
"Basically, what this model delivers is a compromise on a compromise -
first the number of wetlands being considered was cut from 30,000 down
to 2,442 and then it was reduced further to just 18.
"The MDBA claims to have used a new modelling technique for assets but
we believe it is inadequate because of the limited coverage. The other
components of the modelling are not enough to cover this deficiency.
"There are many iconic national treasures that have simply been left out
of the asset-based model, including places such as Boobera Lagoon near
Goondiwindi, Yantabulla Swamp south of Cunnamulla and Fivebough and
Tuckerbill Swamps near Leeton.
"The failings of the methodology mean that the MDBA claims only 2,800GL
of water needs to be returned to the environment across the Basin,
which flies in the face of all previous scientific work.
"It is important to remember that we have already lost 90% of wetlands
in the Basin and those remaining are just a fraction of the original
"We are calling on the Authority to urgently reconsider their approach
and to ensure that they recommend enough water to return the
Murray-Darling, and all its amazing wetlands, to health.
- Carmel Flint 0400 521 474
A map is available for download showing the 18 wetlands that have been
utilised in the modelling by the Authority against a backdrop of all the
wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin.