CLAIMS by conservationists that the introduction of more dams would degrade the environment and in particular populations of freshwater fish and birds seem at odds with what is happening in regional parts of Australia.
Take for example the claim by a spokesman from the Nature Conservation Council that in the Murray-Darling Basin, with water entitlements fully allocated, building dams would make no difference to the availability of water for agriculture.
Surely he jests?
Does not the presence of Burrendong Dam on the Macquarie River ensure there is not only water for irrigation but wetlands like the Macquarie Marshes?
Water flowing through Dubbo, as well as centres like Narromine, Trangie and Warren, not only generates food and fibre, jobs and futures in those towns but it also flows on into the cities. Water can be likened to money, the more you have in the bank the better off you could be. Spend all your money, waste it or whatever and you create serious issues for yourself and your families.
The council cites agricultural production driven by water efficiency. A good point but what has driven most of that efficiency is the cost of water rather than the availability of it.
A line in the press statement from the council should also raise eyebrows: "implementing robust land use planning controls are more cost-effective solutions".
What do they infer by robust land use planning controls?
Farmers and country people have always been suspicious of conservation groups calling for more land being closed up for parks and conservation. The draft plan for more dams is worthy of a second look: think of the money in the bank analogy.