Victoria Shadow Minister for Country Water Resources Peter Walsh
Water Grab Leaves Towns At Risk
Victor P Taffa
The Brumby Government is putting the health of Northern Victorian communities at risk, Shadow Minister for Country Water Resources and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said today.
Mr. Walsh said Labor’s decision to take 20 Billion litres of water from Lake Eildon to pump to Melbourne was reckless when new alerts showed blue-green algal blooms were spreading in the Murray River.
“New warnings have shown high levels of potentially toxic blue-green algae in the Murray River.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Communities from the Hume Dam to Cobram are already on red alert, which means people are being advised to avoid contact with river water.”
“Towns along the river are being forced to treat their water supply with power-activated carbon to minimise the risk of gastroenteritis and skin and eye irritations.”
“Further downstream a very high amber alert has been issued for the stretch of river between Cobram and Echuca, which would indicate the algae is spreading.”
Mr. Walsh said in a normal year water from the Eildon Water Quality Reserve would be used to flush the river if the toxins continued to spread downstream of Echuca.
“The Brumby Government is taking water from the reserve so that it doesn’t look foolish, and in doing so is leaving Northern Victorian communities exposed to health risks.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Last year a stretch of 800 kilometres of the river was put on red alert and the blooms spread downstream of Swan Hill because the government held back 10 Billion litres of water for the North-South pipeline.”
“It is looting a further 10 Billion litres from this year’s water quality reserve despite the fact that Melbourne has two years’ worth of water supply in its storages.”
“The Brumby Government does not need this water. The Premier is looting it from stressed rivers because he is afraid of the political backlash he’s going to receive when voters realise he has spent $750 Million of taxpayers’ money on a pipeline that isn’t needed.” Mr. Walsh said.
The question that should be asked of the Brumby Government is why the North-South pipeline cannot have an extending pipeline and pumping system to feed into the Murray River?