Beginning in 2018, South Australia’snewly announced Royal Commission will investigate breaches of the Murray Darling Basin Agreement, and the Commissioner “will examine the adequacy of existing legislation and practices and make recommendations for any necessary changes.”
Most significantly, South Australia has proposed going beyond water theft to “look into whether any legislative or policy changes since the agreement was signed in 2012 have been inconsistent with the purpose of the Basin Agreement and Basin Plan”.
While bad behaviour in NSW is evident, of more concern is the way some state governments are frustrating implementation of the A$13 billion 2012-26 Basin Plan and associated programs to recover water for the river system.
Adani submitted in 2017 when applying to the Queensland Government for a licence to take the water from the river.
In that document, released to Lock the Gate Alliance, Adani details other users of the river, noting their total combined take is just more than 9.3 billion litres.
Other government documents show there is another agricultural user with a licence to take 4.8 billion litres of water a year, taking the total to 14.1 billion litres — 13 per cent more than Adani’s licence.
There are three other licences that do not have total limits, but are limited to draw between 100 and 500 litres per second from the river.
Adani has been given a licence to take water at a rate of up to 11,600 litres per second — a rate that would fill an Olympic swimming pool in about 3.5 minutes.