The crisis on the Lower Darling, which has seen up to 1 million fish die, is largely due to the decisions by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority on instructions from the New South Wales government, a report by the Australia Institute finds.
It says the reasons for those decisions appear to be about building the case for the new Broken Hill pipeline and the Menindee Lakes project, which will see the lakes shrink and “save” water by reducing evaporation.
“It is clear what has caused the Darling River fish kill – mismanagement and repeated policy failure,” said Maryanne Slattery, senior water researcher with the Australia Institute. “To blame the fish kill on the drought is a cop-out, it is because water releases were made from the lakes when this simply shouldn’t have happened.
“It’s time to stop passing the buck.