Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) & NSW RMS questioned on Murray River Erosion Consultation

Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) & NSW RMS questioned on Murray River Erosion Consultation

The Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV), today questioned the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and NSW Roads and Maritime Service (NSW RMS) regarding scientific advice from the draft River Murray Erosion Management Plan consultation that appears to be contrary to some of the information that is filtering to the community and industry.

“When the MDBA released the April 2017 document, which indicated to readers that the erosion was caused by power boats, the document, we understand, provided photographic content of erosion that was not in a towed water sport zone,” said BIAV CEO Steve Walker.

“Our concerns were heightened when the NSW Roads and Maritime Minister, Melinda Pavey, before public consultation, was quoted in the media that the towed water sport ban would occur regardless of consultation.

“The impact of this proposed ban on our industry, on tourism for the area, and on the regional community will be so large and destructive and we were greatly surprised by the statement and are rightfully concerned,” he added.

BIAV wrote to MDBA in September 2017 to ask for the science that had been used to provide evidence for the document: Bank erosion along the River Murray between Hume Dam and the Ovens Junction.

The MDBA’s response was: “We don’t provide papers for people under most circumstances but encourage them to do their own research using the usual methods.”

In November last year BIAV lodged a freedom of information request for the MDBA to provide access to minutes and papers, reports and correspondence of the Advisory Group for Hume to Yarrawonga Waterway Management (AGHHYM) meetings in 2016.

The MDBA subsequently provided 17 documents on 29th January 2018, that included the NSW Department of Primary Industries Office of Water’s presentation entitled ‘Advisory Group Meeting -  River Murray works program Hume Dam to Lake Mulwala. November 2016’.

Slide 159 provides an analysis of river bank erosion monitoring across 100 sites over three years and provides six bank face erosion features – one of which is ‘wave induced notch’ erosion (i.e. erosion from wind and boat wash waves).

“It seems clear from the monitoring program results that power boats have very little to do with erosion in this area and that river regulation is the culprit,” said Steve Walker.

“It also seems clear, from the report that wave induced notch erosion is declining, while river regulation erosion is increasing each year.

“The science MDBA are putting out into the public consultation seems to not match the science we have obtained under FOI.

“This is the information that we would like to have shared during any consultation and certainly during any decision making processes.

“These reports are now on the BIAV website at for interested parties to view and consider.”

Click below to view the Erosion Monitoring Program Presentations

Doc 5 - Presentation - AGHYWM 50 2016 DPI with movies (SHORT VERSION)

Doc 15 - Presentation - River Murray Works Program Hume Dam to Lake Mulwala - November 2016 Advisory (SHORT VERSION)

Click below to view MDBA Monitoring Program Videos of Bank Erosion