Changes afoot for Murray-Darling Basin Plan

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The parched town of Broken Hill in far west New South Wales may be about to receive some additional water storage support, if the tentative endorsement for amendments to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan are followed through. According to the ABC, a Senate committee's reform recommendations following a hearing in the town in October have been handed down this week, and some stakeholders are offering their cautious support for the moves.

Stan Dineen, Broken Hill resident and water policy expert, believes that the suggestion of a new environmental watering plan for the Menindee Lakes is crucial, given that the traditional Broken Hill water supply is now mostly empty.

"It really means that there would have to be an allocation of water for environmental water in the area," he says.

A history of shortages in Broken Hill

According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the long-suffering town of Broken Hill has experienced three drought events in the past 13 years, with costly conservation measures only ever a short-term solution.

Alongside the proposed re-engineering of the Menindee Lakes, as part of a $500 million investment package to secure the town's water supply, the NSW government is mulling over several alternatives. These include a new pipeline of treated water coming from South Australia, or raw water coming straight from the Murray to be treated in Broken Hill itself.

Barwon MP Kevin Humphries somewhat agrees with Mr Dineen, believing that a new environmental watering plan is best for the area.

"The preference from my view is to leave the northern lake system alone, including Lake Menindee, and develop up an environmental water planning regime for that part of the world," he told the ABC.

While solutions for the long term continue to be debated at high levels, for many the crisis is more immediate. Securing your own supply is more crucial than ever, so talk to your local expert today about a quality water tank solution on your property.

By Gerald Beckton

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