I have this piece in the Spectator on-line.
The Murray Darling River is facing a plethora of publicity. Issues have included fish deaths due to mismanagement of flows by the responsible body, farmer agitation as a result of loss of irrigation water, claims that the water buy-backs behind the farmer concerns have been at excessive prices and, implausibly, corruptly made, and a report by the “Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists” with the usual claims of environmental distress. Evidence of such distress is never presented.
We have seen a 40 year developing saga. First the green misanthropists claimed we needed to cut back on agriculture because it was causing salinity, which would, so they said, kill off farming as well as natural flora. Then came global warming with absurd claims that the water would never return, a prediction propagated by the usual crowd of doomsayers including Garnaut and Flannery. But here is the trendless picture.
All the while the support for cutting down on agricultural use of water was supported by people at the Murray mouth abetted by the green left who, unapologetically, promoted a conversion of the naturally salty lakes into permanently fresh water. The outcome has been a 20 per cent derating of the agricultural province that is responsible for over 40 per cent of the national farming output and an impoverishment of many of the Basin’s producers.
We need to stop listening to radical environmental activists posing as scientists and the politicians who nurture them to restore the Murray Darling cuts in irrigator water allocations. But will we? As with mining, the emotive heart tugs of the doomsters strikes cords among urban voters that would seem to foreshadow no relief for the people who live in the Murray Darling Basin and on-going denial to potential levels of national income.