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QLD Govt to investigate Paroo dam -

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ELEANOR HALL: The Queensland Government is vowing to investigate allegations of unauthorised dam
building on one of the healthiest rivers on the upper reaches of the stricken Murray system.

The Paroo River stretches 600 kilometres from Queensland across to New South Wales and in 2001 the
two state governments agreed to a ban on new water developments on the river.

But scientists studying satellite imagery say there are new storage dams and water diversions on
the Queensland side of the river.

The Queensland Government though is defending its handling of the river and says it's confident the
spirit of the moratorium has been upheld.

The Queensland Department of Regional Water Services Manager, Ross Krebs spoke about the
allegations to Brisbane reporter Annie Guest.

ANNIE GUEST: Ross Krebs can we start at the beginning. Can you confirm that in 2001 the Queensland
Government and New South Wales Government agreed to moratorium on new dams or river diversions on
the Paroo River.

ROSS KREBS: Yes, there was inter-government agreement came into place in 2002, I believe, which
related to arrangements for controlling further development and use of water in the Paroo.

What Queensland did was put in place a moratorium on further development of works in 2001.

ANNIE GUEST: Why then do satellite images show new storage dams and more than 10 kilometres of
channels diverting water for irrigation built since 2002?

ROSS KREBS: What we need to appreciate here is some of those works are relating to the movement and
use of water already taken. So this isn't about taking more water, it is about taking water already
... using water already taken.

ANNIE GUEST: Ross Krebs if you are building a new diversion channel from an existing dam, you are
going to take more water from that dam aren't you, and therefore the dam is going to be filling
more quickly and taking more water from its source?

ROSS KREBS: Well, that goes with any dam or weir. If you take water out of the dam which you tend
to do, you need more flow to fill it up.

ANNIE GUEST: Doesn't that go against the spirit of this agreement?

ROSS KREBS: Well, I'm not too sure where it is not in the spirit of the agreement.

ANNIE GUEST: Ok, well let's move on ...

ROSS KREBS: Because the spirit of the agreement and the spirit of the moratorium and the spirit of
water resource planning relates to existing diversions and takes of water ... are ok.

ANNIE GUEST: So can you rule out that there have been any new diversion channels from any new areas
taking water, new dams et cetera?

ROSS KREBS: I can't rule that out. I've got this new information and we are having a look at it. It
is identifying that some works have taken place in relation to some reconfiguration, if I can use
that word.

It's by putting a wall within an existing storage, doesn't make the storage bigger. That's our
current position. We'll have another look.

ANNIE GUEST: Now the Queensland Government has been accused by environmentalists of failing to
protect the Murray-Darling Basin. How do you respond to that?

ROSS KREBS: I think from a Queensland Government perspective, we've got a very robust planning
framework in place here, as I mentioned before.

Issue of new licences to take water from the Paroo was put on hold and in 1995 moratoriums on works
came in place in 2001. The water resource plan came into being in 2003, the agreement you just
mentioned in 2002.

There has been a range of measures which the Queensland Government has put in place which I think
demonstrates fairly clearly a resolve to manage these waters.

ANNIE GUEST: This issue that has come up today involves ... it relates to a political agreement
between the Queensland and New South Wales governments. Shouldn't then your Minister be speaking
about this issue as you are a senior regional manager?

ROSS KREBS: I believe I have been asked to speak because of the extra knowledge I have in relation
to this particular development.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Ross Krebs from Queensland's Department of Natural Resources, speaking to
Annie Guest in Brisbane.