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Murray-Darling River Communities Are Struggling

Posted by terres on March 21, 2008

Signs of Environmental Collapse

“The South Australian Government says there is no risk that the state will run out of water, despite ongoing drought and its River Murray allocation almost running dry.” ABC News

Sign Waterkeeper Australia’s Murray Darling Basin Petition

In Australia, the Murray-Darling River communities are struggling with massive economic, cultural and environmental losses as water is diverted for wasteful industrial agricultural use. The Murray-Darling Basin, Australia’s Food Bowl, produces one third of the nation’s food. But the government’s decision to prioritize irrigated crops and pastures is destroying the watershed and the communities who live there.

It’s time for the Australian government, and governments around the world, to put people, communities and the environment first. Instead of crying “drought” it’s time we prioritize sustainable water management.

Click here to sign the petition and add your voice

One Response to “Murray-Darling River Communities Are Struggling”

  1. Enough is enough says Fair Water Use (Australia)

    Fair Water Use (Australia) welcomes Victoria’s signing–on to the national Murray-Darling rescue plan as a significant development, but says the future health of this vital river system is far from assured.

    The recent decision by the Queensland Government to buy back stored water from a large private irrigator in an effort to save dying wet lands and an endangered water bird species is a further indication of the dysfunctional nature of the current arrangements. Although details have not been released, it is probable that the company involved will reap a hefty profit from returning a national resource to the public domain and allowing the creeks to flow as nature intended.

    It is estimated that flows into the Murray Darling Basin must be increased by 1,500 billion litres to achieve a moderate improvement in the status of the river system.

    This may seem an impossible ask. However, according to latest figures obtained by Fair Water Use from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the volume of water extracted from the Murray-Darling catchment and used to irrigate Australian cotton and rice in 2005-6 exceeded a staggering 2,800 billion litres.

    The end of broad-acre cultivation of cotton and rice is critical to the future of the Murray-Darling, according to Fair Water Use (Australia)’s, Dr Ian Douglas.

    “As an example, Cubbie Station is licensed to take 460 billion litres – more than enough to fill Sydney Harbour – the equivalent of all irrigation entitlements downstream in north-western NSW,” Dr Douglas said.

    “This vast volume is extracted from the Murray-Darling catchment virtually free-of-charge. After recent rains in Queensland, Cubbie Station dams now contain over three years supply of water which it will use for the cultivation of cotton in a country ravaged by drought.

    “There is irrefutable evidence that the plight of the Murray-Darling Basin and the resulting regional, social and environmental devastation, is in part a consequence of the activities of Cubbie and others involved in the cultivation of inappropriate and unnecessary crops on the driest continent on earth.”

    Fair Water Use (Australia) will continue to apply pressure to the Federal Government to take urgent and specific action to resolve this anathema, including the buy-back of the nation’s water from cotton and rice producers. Please join our campaign and contact your local State and Federal MPs and Environment Ministers.

    For further details, please contact:

    Media enquiries: Jilea Morrad: 0423 707 372

    Fair Water Use (Australia) is a lobby group formed by everyday Australians, with the shared vision of a revived Murray-Darling basin and the sustainable environmental, community and economic benefits that would flow from its recovery.

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