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Group urges residents to reject pipeline, bores

Friday, 27th May, 2016

By Darrin Manuel

A water advocacy group is urging locals to use MP Kevin Humphries’ own survey to send a clear message that the city wants clean surface water from Menindee.

Last week the State member announced that he would send out a survey offering residents three choices for their future water supply - a pipeline to Jamestown, a pipeline to Wentworth, or continued reliance on the lakes and bores.

That raised the ire of a number of locals including members of the Broken Hill and Darling River Action Group, who said Mr Humphries was trying to railroad the city into simply accepting the one of the Coalition government’s proposals without considering the alternatives.

Rather than accepting the options on offer, BHDRAG secretary Darryn Clifton said the group would rather locals use the survey’s comments section to request a fourth option to the form - “restoring the small and medium flows to the Darling River and Menindee Lakes and returning water to the river.”

“By restoring these flows the Darling River and Menindee Lakes will have water and that will negate the need for any pipelines or bores,” said Mr Clifton.

“As a community we cannot allow the NSW National Party’s Kevin Humphries to coerce the communities in choosing the options that he is pursuing.

“We urge all residents of Broken Hill and Menindee to write another option on Kevin Humphries’ water survey.

“We must speak for ourselves because Kevin Humphries and his National/Liberal Party mates want us on an alternate water supply.”

The group’s opposition to the survey was backed by NSW Greens party spokesman for energy, Jeremy Buckingham, at a public water meeting on Monday night.

He dismissed Mr Humphries’ survey as rubbish and cast doubt on the practicality of the pipeline options.

“The river has been mismanaged by State and Federal government, and the options that have been put on the table by Kevin Humphries are garbage,” Mr Buckingham said.

“They should be putting on the table the issue of surface flows. Clearly these pipelines - to Jamestown, the pipelines to the Murray - are off in the never-never.

“What we want to see is a government committed to restoring the flows and health of the Darling system.

“This is a great community with fantastic people, and they shouldn’t be going through this. The Greens think that what they’ve had to deal with is absolutely criminal.”

However Mr Humphries yesterday reiterated his call that the issue of the river and lakes should be separated from discussions about the city’s water supply.

“The survey is about the long term water security for Broken Hill; it is a stand-alone issue,” he said.

“If the BHDRAG group don’t support long term water security that is seriously disappointing.

“Again I remind those people that the management system for the lakes can be addressed for the future. It is a complex issue and should not be used as a political football to deny the residents of Broken Hill a secure water supply into the future.”

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