This article belongs to Australia - Land of the Free? column.
John Howard Prime Minister of Australia
To show how the basin that dominates
The Basin is defined by the catchment areas of the Murray-Darling and its many tributaries. It covers an area of 1.05 million square kilometres or 14% of
Murray Darling Basin Dominates Eastern Australia
It is so large it covers cool and humid rainforests, temperate mallee country, and inland sub-tropical areas, hot, dry semi-arid and arid lands. Two million people live, work and depend on its water supply. Industry and natural resource businesses output for the region is in the vicinity of 10 billion dollars per year.
The river is now in a sorry plight with flows drastically reduced in the worst drought in a hundred years. But it's not only the drought that has caused the problem, too much water has been sold to business leaving nothing for environmental flows to flush out the river.
If we were giving a lesson on how to stuff up a river basin, all we'd need to do is show our students the once mighty
Federal and State Governments are expending millions of dollars in drought assistance to farmers and industries that rely on the rural industry. Much of
In the cities water restrictions apply with some limiting water sprinklers operation to 3 hours, one day a week. Hand-held hoses fitted with a trigger nozzle can only be used before 8am and after 8pm. Cars can only be washed from a bucket and so on and so on.
Industries that require vast amounts of water are encouraged along rivers that sustain them at great cost to these waterways. Even worse, some industries pollute these steams making the situation tragic.
Many governments and departments are doing what they can to encourage better water use but the example set in the past is one of, I don't care there's plenty of water, look at the River Murray.
The time has come for Australians to forget the extravagance of the past and address the land and rivers of today and make sure they don't commit the sins of their fathers.
The use of grey water and recycling must be encouraged, together with rainwater tanks in the cities. Alternatives found for gardens and lawns that don't require the vast amounts of extra water above what the climate provides.
This terrible drought should be a lesson about what can be done in the future.
The criteria should be if the climate and natural rain won't support it, don't do it.
Drought breaking rains have been received in some parts of