Water savings `false’

THE Brumby Government has been accused of corruption and deceit in trying to prove there is sufficient spare water in northern Victoria to supply the North-South Pipeline in 2010.Nationals member for Northern Victoria Region Damian Drum lashed the State Government in a speech in parliament yesterday.“What this government is doing in the north in relation to water is one of the great corruptions of the state,” he said.Mr Drum has been involved in parliamentary committee investigations into the claimed water savings produced by water projects across northern Victoria.Mr Drum said during the hearing that senior officials from the projects were asked about the validity of the Government’s claimed water savings.He said the Government refused to deny allegations it was considering rebadging 93,000 megalitres of evaporation from the Kerang lakes as a “93,000-megalitre contribution to the environment.”“It has been suggested that, with the stroke of a pen, NVIRP can make 93,000 megalitres of savings without spending one cent and without saving one litre of water,” Mr Drum said.The Government could not deny that claimed savings by getting rid of the old Dethridge wheels were based on manipulated data on the wheels’ accuracy, he said.The investigations revealed that one study showed 96 per cent of the losses came from just 10 per cent of poorly maintained wheels, Mr Drum said, and 50 per cent of all losses came from just seven of the 637 wheels tested.Mr Drum said it was of concern that Labor Party members were not worried about the flawed testing, provided the Government got 75 gigalitres of water to pump to Melbourne through the North-South Pipeline.A spokesman for the State Government said the allegations were not new and issued no formal response.