Home' Grower : September 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower – September 2011
with WALLY SPARROW
SA is always considered the 10 per cent state and is likely to be walked all over when the
MDB report is finally released.
SA needs to fight
for water equality
WATER is vital to the survival of the
human race. It is the essential element
for food production and sanitation.
The trick is finding a way to evenly distrib-
ute available water to sustain a rising global
When it was announced there would be an
independent group to advise and manage the
Murray Darling Basin, I was quite excited.
With all of the arguing and bickering that
had been going on, South Australia
appeared to be in a bad position. But when
the first report was delayed – from August
to October – I started to worry.
In my usual curious way, I read-up on this
group and found that it is, in fact, five
groups: all sparring around one another like
teenagers in a football brawl.
They are the Federal Water Minister,
Murray Darling Basin Authority, Ministerial
Council, Basin Officials Committee and the
Basin Community Committee.
I have always said that a committee is a
group of people brought together to agree
Can you tell me what chance five groups
have of achieving a useful goal?
The group has a budget of about $60 mil-
lion and more than 300 employees.
The balance of committee members seems
to be relatively even, on a state-by-state basis
but it is, in my mind, politically biased.
Who are these people? Are they mainly
government employees given an extra job or
are they experienced people with a heart for
the even distribution and survival of water in
I worry that in SA our politicians are more
interested in their own survival.
The Premier showed his concerns when
the Murray was in flood, rushing past the
doors of SA irrigators who were still on
rations. All he was worried about was upset-
ting his mates interstate.
We pay these people and I think it is time they
stood up, leaving politics and sporting facilities
behind them, and worked towards securing
SA’s future in the area of food production.
We are always considered the 10 per cent
state and I am concerned that we will be
walked all over when the MDB report is
Already, there have been leaks and statements
condemning us. Because we rely on the Murray
for our city water supply, we are accused of hav-
ing a big straw at the bottom of the Murray,
sucking water up into our reser voirs.
People are saying that because we have had
Commonwealth funding for a desalination
plant we did not need as much water.
Environmental issues, such as the required
water for the Barmah-Millewa Forest, is high
on their priority list, but there is a huge amount
of negative discussion about the amount of
water required to keep our lakes healthy and to
allow the Murray to exit into the sea.
It is mainly New South Wales and Victoria,
which are crying into their beer. NSW has
issued new water licences every time some-
body comes up with a development scheme.
They store huge amounts of water in turkey
nest dams for cotton irrigation and now the
NSW Farmers Association want to decrease
the risk of flooding by putting more dams
along the river system – not happy Barr y!
The Victorians are funnelling water from
the Murray to drought-proof Melbourne,
Ballarat and Bendigo and yet talk about our
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I bet the MDB Committee does not take
that into consideration.
I might also ask how they will know who
actually has the right to what when there is no
register of people who own water licences.
We need a smaller group of independent
people who are honest, have our farmers
and towns as a priority and do not have an
agenda – political or financial.
We need to know who owns the water and
stop all future sales of water licences.
The big end of town - BHP or other min-
ing companies – need to leave the water to
communities who can use it ef ficiently to
Dream on Wally, dream on.
I fear we have very little chance of this
happening, however, I do believe that it is
time we stood up as a State and stopped
people walking all over us.
Make sure that you support you individual farming
association financially so that we can have a voice.
You can contact me on email@example.com
or 0419 591 894.
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