It's been acknowledged by the Department of Water before, but never so articulately or publicly. Water doesn't get from outlying areas of water catchment into rivers and dams simply by flowing across the surface; rather 'the ground is a sponge' which soaks up the water and allows it to percolate beneath the surface into the groundwater systems and subterranean streams, some of which then re-enter the surface rivers and dams.
The significance of this is that it calls into question the Department of Water's paranoia about 'turbidity' - the stirring up of dirt on the ground that (they allege) then flows into the dams when the rains come.
Turbidity is a problem. It increases the cost of treating water because the pathogens which can cause disease 'hide behind' the suspended dirt particles and can be missed by the chlorination process. This means more chlorine must be used to compensate, adding to cost and impacting on water purity and taste. That part is not argued.
Our point is that turbidity is only a problem where water flows directly across the surface into streams and dams. Therefore outer catchment areas where water travels below the surface to get to the stream or dam are not impacted by turbidity. After all it is reasonably absurd to think that the water is going to carry loose dirt down through the dirt on its way underground to the dam!
The RTRA remains committed to the concept that outer catchment areas are over-protected. Keep recreation that can disturb soil out of the inner catchments and Reservoir Protection Zones if you must, but take a more pragmatic approach to managing the outer catchments in recognition that soil disturbance is not going to create the sorts of problems that the current 'protection' regime is targeted at preventing.
Have a look at the Water Corporation's video and see if you agree: