Dramatic drops in water level witnessed in central Collie River in recent days were the result of unauthorised tampering of a local government weir, Water Minister Graham Jacobs said today.
“What people have noticed this week is in fact a blatant act of vandalism and not in any way a result of over use of groundwater by industry,” Dr Jacobs said.
“I have been advised that after investigations conducted by the Department of Water, it appears that weir boards were down for two days early this week before they were replaced.
“A drop in levels was not detected because at the same time a gauging station ceased working, possibly from vandalism as well.
“We don’t know the motive for this, whether it is someone who believes they are assisting the river or someone further down the river is stealing water. The matter is being investigated further with the assistance of the appropriate authorities, including WA Police.
“I condemn this act of environmental vandalism and encourage anyone with information about this tampering to come forward.”
The Minister urged that even if people believed actions such as this were well meant, they should not take matters into their own hands as the community and the State Government were working on trying to improve the river’s health. Rogue actions only worsened this.
Dr Jacobs said the Upper Collie water allocation plan protected the existing environment by leaving enough water in the system to support ecological, social and cultural needs.
It also set a number of policies to ensure water was taken and used in a way that did not impact the environment.
In addition the State Government was preparing a River Action Plan for the entire length of the river and was also well advanced in the design of a way to reduce the salinity in the river at or near Buckingham, improving the water quality of the river through the town.
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