The weekly wash-up (May 9th)

The week that was in river and water news – May 9th, 2013

While Australia counts the costs of poor river management, more dams are planned in Asia.

Myall River to be dredged  The NSW government will fund up to half of the $2 million cost of removing a large silt build-up, overturning a previous recommendation against the work. Greens MP John Kaye says doing nothing about the ongoing problems in the river was never an option and has welcomed the Deputy Premier’s decision to fund the dredging.

Australia makes list of ecosystems in bad shape  Murray-Darling Basin lakes and the Coorong lagoons in South Australia would be deemed critically endangered under a new global system to rank the conservation status of ecosystems in the same way as threatened species.

Controversial Cambodia dam set for construction  Cambodia has begun preparations to build a hydropower dam on the Se San River. The wall of the dam will block the movement of long-distance migratory fish. It is estimated around 200,000 tons of fish per year will be lost from the Mekong system, which is much more than the whole marine sector of Australia.

Cambodians rely heavily on freshwater fish for food. Photo: James Heilman

Cambodians rely heavily on freshwater fish for food. Photo: James Heilman

Mine’s 200 year threat to water    A new open-cut coalmine in Queensland, to be dug by Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal company, could affect water supplies in the region and will clear 4000 ha of the Bimblebox nature refuge. Waratah Coal did not address questions in their supplementary environmental impact statement as to whether there is a guarantee that the burden of remediation will not fall on the government and taxpayer.

$50 million for water management and planning  The Victorian State Budget has allocated $50 million for important work on water cycle research and planning, promotion of new building controls and assistance to industry with water cycle management. The work will make sure the use of rainfall, stormwater and wastewater is maximised to reduce the need for future large-scale pipelines, desalination plants and pumping and treatment plants.

Plans to harness China’s Nu River power threaten a region   The Chinese government has revived plans to build a series of hydropower dams on the upper reaches of the Nu, the heart of a Unesco World Heritage site in China’s southwest Yunnan Province that ranks among the world’s most ecologically diverse and fragile places. Critics say the project will  force the relocation of tens of thousands of ethnic minorities in the highlands of Yunnan.