The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has issued a statement responding to The Project’s report on the Condamine Balonne strategic water purchase, now known online as #Watergate. The statement claims that the water purchased for $79 million can “be used off the property” and that “Water entitlements are now held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, but does not disclose that the Commonwealth’s water entitlements only exist at the property, which means that the Commonwealth has no legal right over the water outside the property. There is nothing in place to prevent that water from simply being extracted by other irrigators.
The Department’s statement also fails to address:
- The relationship between EAA and its Cayman Islands-based parent company.
- The price paid for water in the strategic purchase.
- Justification for record price was paid.
- How supposed decommissioned works have been verified.
- The legal and technical problems associated with Commonwealth management of overland flows.
- Why the Commonwealth paid for a dam but has no rights or agreements to use that dam.
- Compliance with procurement guidelines.