THE managing director of Snowy Hydro, Terry Charlton, denies that Snowy Hydro contributed to the devastating flooding along the Murrumbidgee in early December in which homes were destroyed and wheat fields drown. He does, however, admit that until Wednesday, December 8, water was being released from Lake Eucumbene.
Lake Eucumbene has the capacity to store the equivalent of nine Sydney Harbours and was at only 25 percent capacity.
A chart, recently provided to me by a Snowy Hydro staff member, shows the extent to which lake levels were falling early December.
During just one 24 hour period, between 8th and 9th December, lakes levels fell six centimetres which is equivalent to 6,000 megalitres of water being released.
That is a lot of water; enough water to provide all of Melbourne’s water needs for one week, or grow 5,000 tonnes of rice.
And yet according to Mr Charlton no water was released from Lake Eucumbene during that 24 hour period.
In The Australian newspaper on December 15, journalists Samantha Maiden and Lauren Wilson reported that Federal Water Minister Tony Burke and a spokeswoman for the NSW Office of Water also denied any water was release by Snowy Hydro except from overflowing lower storages because of excessive rainfall and flooding.
The chart of lake levels and an operational plan for Snowy Hydro for December 9th, also provided to me by a staff member, however, indicate that very significant quantities of water were released from Lake Eucumbene.
The communities of the Riverina deserve to know the truth.
Snowy Hydro must make public all the documentation that they hold on all water releases, and also all inflows, for Lake Eucumbene for November and December 2010. Only then will we know the extent to which Snowy Hydro contributed to the flooding – or not.
Previous posts on this issue can be found by scrolling down here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/tag/snowy-hydro/
The comment thread on this blog post was closed at 12noon on January 05. There will be more posts on this issue providing opportunity for more comment.