Michael Pascoe writes:

The sorry story that’s the NSW government copped another rich chapter this morning with the SMH’s report that Sydney Water’s own figures show Morris Iemma’s scaled-down desalination plant doesn’t add up.

There comes a point when a team under pressure dissolves into farce. This billion-dollar desalination adventure marks the point.

The Iemma government (as brought to you by Terrigals faction leaders, Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi) is bouncing off walls as it slips in the mess left by Macquarie Banker Bob Carr.

First there was an iron-clad commitment to persevere with the Sartor/Carr desalination plant stunt after a decade of inaction on water. Then it was scaled back in size. Then the private ownership of the plant was ditched in the wake of the Cross City Tunnel backlash. Then the SMH discovered the private company that owns the existing water plant will have to be compensated for any water produced by the desalination plant. And now the SMH killer:

Desalination on the scale now planned by the State Government would cost almost double that of a similar sized recycling scheme and consume more than three times as much energy, Sydney Water papers reveal.

The normal response with this government is to immediately wonder just where the money is going to or who has a picture of whom in which compromising position with what donkey – but the possibility of simple incompetence should never be ruled out.

Iemma’s problem now is that he’s just passed the point of being able to blame Bob Carr for everything. From here on, the bungles are all his own.