Australia’s water security has been, and probably always will be, a constant challenge for rural communities.
The water we drink, the food we eat and the health and sustainability of the river systems like the nation’s food-bowl, the Murray-Darling Basin, are of vital interest to all Australians. Water policy must have genuine respect for the ‘triple bottom line’ of social, economic and environmental outcomes. Irrigation and primary production communities have grown around waterways that are the lifeblood of those communities. Water policy must have due regard to the impacts that restricted water taking opportunities will have upon those communities.
Efficient and better use of water improves productivity, food and other farm exports and the availability of water for household and primary production purposes.
Wherever possible, serious consideration should be given to improving water security through removal of constraints of water flow, and building reservoirs for flood mitigation and water storage. Desalination plants have proven incredibly expensive and a burden to the cost of water utility users.
The Murray-Darling Basin
Less than 3 per cent of the water in the Murray-Darling Basin is used by Adelaide consumers. The Australian Family Party believes the way that 3 per cent has been managed has been grossly inadequate. A full analysis of what happens to the other 97 per cent is crucial if the interests of South Australians are to be protected.
- The Australian Family believes South Australian families are entitled to put fresh food on the table and get clean water out of the tap at prices that do not burden low and middle income households.
- The Australian Family Party believes water prices in South Australia are too high.
- The Australian Family Party believes that water restrictions are unnecessary.
- The Australian Family Party believes that the problems of the River Murray are not engineering problems or agricultural problems but are political problems.
- The Australian Family Party believes that if the electorates through which the Murray, Darling and tributary rivers flow had been marginal seats, there would be far more action to address the myriad problems associated with the river than has previously been the case.
- The Australian Family Party believes the Murray Darling Basin Plan fails to adequately address the concerns of South Australia and its efforts to be efficient in its water use.
- The Australian Family Party believes “What can’t be measured, can’t be managed.” It is vital that a verifiable measuring system which picks up every extraction point along the length of the River be implemented – but at the cost of Government, not the landholder. If river health is a state-wide or national social good, the cost burden should be borne collectively, not by individual landholders.
Letter to the Editor – Former Senator Bob Day, December 2019
The Murray Estuary
[Dr Jennifer Marohasy, reproduced with permission]